I was going to wait until I returned from an early January trip but I remembered that, on the off chance I itemize my tax deductions this year, it might be nice to do my Charity Piggy Bank donations today on New Year’s Eve. I ended the contribution year with a little over $471. I threw in a bit extra to get us to an even $500. Taking advice from kind reader comments, including Emily at The Lost Albatross, I decided to focus primarily on local groups: two literally local, and one across the Big Lake but local to my heart.
Where did the money go, in this happiest of New Year’s Eve activities? I knew I wanted to contribute a big part of the Piggy Bank to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin, which supplies all the food pantries and feeding programs here in town. SHFB responded immediately with a very nice auto reply telling me how the money would be used. I was especially pleased to read about an expansion of their Mobile Pantry Program; maintenance for their kids’ BackPack program (easy to prepare food for long weekends and breaks when kids miss in-school meals); and of course their ongoing work distributing food to 400 partner programs in 16 southern Wisconsin counties.
I also made a smaller contribution to Keep Wisconsin Warm, the program that helps families pay their heating bills in these cold Wisconsin winters.
I had initially intended to use all of the piggy bank for local social welfare programs like the above. But I also wanted to make a contribution that nurtures the spirit, especially for children. My favorite summers growing up included five weeks at Camp Miniwanca, an amazing world of women and girls set on 360 acres along Lake Michigan. The camp has been in place since 1925, it’s one of the most beautiful places I know, and it provides leadership training (kid-style) and really life changing changing summers for young girls.
Honestly, I had considered forgoing these contributions — the economy is worrisome and it would perhaps have been more practical to put this money in a rainy day savings account. But, happily, I had already made a promise the more than 3200 readers who’ve clicked on Daily Mitzvah this year — so that was motivation! I also made these gifts in honor or “the readers of the Daily Mitzvah blog,” in thanks for the comments and the clicks!
I have to say that making these donations today was such an happy and fulfilling way to spend the last day of the year.
My very best wishes to one and all for a happy, healthy, and reassuring New Year.
Today’s mitzvah: It’s not too late to make a year-end donation to a worthy local group (most will reply immediately with an email confirmation for your taxes) — or to resolve to begin your Charity Piggy Bank for 2009!