Okay, so maybe it doesn’t top sex or chocolate, but helping others is definitely one of Life’s better “inventions.” For one thing, as someone wiser than I once noted, the torch you raise to light the path for another lights that path for you as well. I’d call that a win-win, wouldn’t you? So, one could reasonably expect countless people to be lending a hand (beyond their families) regularly.
Yet, too many of us feel reluctant to contribute money and/or time and effort if we cannot do so at a level we consider "significant." If that’s you (and I’ve been there myself), perhaps you might consider some wise counsel from Teddy Roosevelt, who suggests that we simply do what we can, right where we are and with whatever we have at hand.
So—if you're at this site, one thing you
have "at hand" right now is a mouse, correct? With that same mouse, you
can join the thousands helping Greater Good provide food and other assistance to people/animals in need. Plus, it won’t cost you a dime. (Another win-win.)
Although money does change hands at some point of this process, none of it comes from (or to) you. What it will cost is a minute or two of time and, yes, time is a precious and diminishing commodity these days. But another diminishing commodity for too many is food—as supply chains become mangled by wars, drought, and the complexities (and inequities) of post-harvest transport and distribution. Your "clicks" are one great way to help.
you already send money to groups that address hunger and other issues
in various ways. If so, bravo. Here’s something else you can do, as
well—something that also costs nothing. Use your mouse-hand, and your head (and heart) to play a game at Free Rice.
The free-rice game questions you in your choice of six areas: languages, geography, math, humanities, English grammar or vocabulary, or chemistry. For each correct answer, the game “pays” you 10 grains of rice. So, if you take time to answer a mere 30 questions, for example, your winnings total 300 grains. When cooked they look like the rice in the itty bowl just below—one heaping tablespoon, plus slight overage.
To fill that small bowl would take you about 8 days of play at the 30-question level; for a larger one, roughly 10 to 12 days. And that bowl of rice makes a real difference to people living in refugee camps, for example, or where natural disasters have struck.
You make that difference when you take a very modest amount of time to, in essence, click your mouse 30 times (how hard is that?) while also using your grey matter. Or answer even more questions to "buy" more rice; the site keeps a tally if you revisit during the day, and you may play as often and as long as you wish.
You can do shelter animals a similar favor at freekibble.com, where a single answer (all you’re allowed) earns 10 pieces of kibble whether your answer be correct or false. Another great deal. So, why not do it? Turn your mouse-hand into a true helping-hand, and choose to make a difference in somebody’s life...today. Click here for another easy and free way to help both people and animals at the hunger site!
Finally, you might explore Kiva, an innovative micro-lending program. Although Kiva isn't "free," my own (considerable) experience as a lender has been that the majority of my borrowers have fully repaid their loans. If you like the idea of lending a hand to a small-scale entrepreneur in the U.S. or a developing country, perhaps you might consider doing that through Kiva.
And there you are: a few easy and inexpensive ways to help others, but they work best if the rest us pitch in as well. Although none of us can "save the world" on our own, together we can do a lot. Let’s do that, whether we use our time/energy/heads or our money. Although this post has focused primarily on ways to provide financial help, sharing some of your time and smarts can often do more for someone or even many "someones" than you would ever imagine. So if you have some of that precious commodity yourself, where could you "spend" it to help others?