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Avoid ‘charity fatigue’ this season

If you feel like you are giving as much as you can afford to, you will likely not feel compelled to give to everyone. Another thing to keep in mind in this season is that not all giving needs to be monetary. If you have time on a weekend or in the evening, volunteer to ring the bell, cover a shift at the local food shelf or find some other way to volunteer. Look around your neighborhood; do you have elderly neighbors who need their walkway shoveled? This will cost you nothing, but will leave you and your neighbor both with the warm glow of the season in your hearts.

This is an especially good thing to teach your children. Then your spirit of charity might end up expanding to the next generation. If you don’t have the time, but do plan to give monetarily, look for those charities that will help your North Country neighbors. Try to keep your money local. While there is nothing wrong with helping someone on the other side of the world, you will likely have a more immediate feeling of giving if you knit a pair of mittens or give a new coat or toy to a North Country child.

That charity might someday get paid forward, and this region of the world will keep on being the special place to live that it has always been.

There is also nothing wrong with asking a charity how much of your contribution will stay local, or even what percentage of your contribution will go to administration as opposed to going to the needy. With something like a coat or a toy, you know that 100 percent goes to those in need.

The final thing to keep in mind, is that many, if not most, charities have needs year-round. It’s amazingly generous to serve meals to the needy on Christmas, but people are just as hungry in June. Give some thought to pacing your giving, or volunteering, to charity all year round. Then you might feel a little bit better about tempering things between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you might be able to avoid charity burnout.

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