Making the World Better in Small Ways
Photo by darkmatter
As readers of today’s local newspaper probably know by now, I’m not planning to take over the road cleanup from a local pagan group that didn’t follow through on its Adopt-a-Highway contract, resulting in (cringe…cringe…cringe) all area pagans looking somewhat irresponsible and nature-unloving. (Not a good day for pagans in the press, and though I don’t speak for anyone other than myself and my own Circle, my comments were used in an attempt to show balance in the reporting because I was the only out-of-the-closet pagan the reporter could locate.) Some people think I should step in and clean up the adopted highway, just by virtue of being a pagan and because the Department of Transportation sign says that the road is cared for by pagans, but I don’t really need anyone else deciding for me what charitable work I choose to do. I have plenty already, thank you.
I’ve been involved in several different charities this past year, plus some other projects that I don’t disclose because I like to make anonymous contributions. I feel good and useful and put forth the prosperity into the world, the recipients never know who the benefactor is, and I love that kind of energetic flow of philanthropy. In the past year, I’ve also made some substantial contributions to Goodwill and Sharing and Caring’s food bank, none of which was refused this time because of the pentacles on my bumpersticker, as has happened in the past. I’m currently boxing up out-of-print books for a pagan prison ministry, too, and I’ll share photos on that when I’m finally able to make the trip–I have some car repairs I must do first.
But the newest “find” among my charity efforts is a non-profit organization called Kiva. (http://www.kiva.org) You can make 0% micro-loans to entrepreneurs in Third World countries, helping them to help lift themselves out of poverty. At the end of the loan period, when it’s paid back (and the stats are pretty good for payback), you can get your money back or you can lend it to another entrepreneur. To me this is a great way to keep the gift recycling and helping others on a global scale, and you can get started for as little as $25 for a piece of a micro-loan. Given that interest on checking and savings accounts are so low right now, it’s not hard for me to justify financially.
Oh, and my first loan went to four women in Tanzania who needed a little over $600 to add a frame to their existing shop (already expanded once through Kiva with a successful payback) to sell medicine. People I’ll never meet, yes, but I can help make the world a better place in small ways.