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Holiday Giving to Promote 2014 Stability
11/15/2013 2:41:17 PM

Toby Brown

The holiday season is here and agencies are implementing plans to help those who are less fortunate and—thanks to a very generous and compassionate community—there will be squeals of delight in many homes on Christmas morning. And that’s great! But, I want to suggest giving for a different purpose. These suggestions are based on situations that we face at Midland Park Community Ministries:
    1. Help single working moms (and dads) save money: It’s challenging and not because folks are unwilling, but because there is nothing left. You can create a “saving opportunity” and here’s how. Partner with a local 501 (c) 3 non-profit and, if you can swing it, pay the rent of a working, single mom (or dad) once a quarter throughout 2014. If you can’t do all of it, then do what you can. If you can’t do the rent, then consider the utilities. The money saved will be placed in a savings account. For a modest to low-income family having access to some dollars, versus getting a payday loan or donating plasma, is huge! 
    2. Get families out of hotels: You can create another “saving opportunity” by covering, for a short-term, the hotel bill so that those dollars can be saved for a deposit. Any number of local non-profits can broker this for you. 
    3. Provide transportation: Buy a few bus passes; they cost $51 per month. We met a beautiful couple a few months ago who almost walked the soles off their shoes! They were desperate for work and didn’t mind footin’ it, but, in the end, not being able to travel worked against them. And don’t forget about bicycles…if you have extras and they are in good condition, please consider donating them. 
    4. Repair homes of senior citizens: Those on fixed incomes often let home repairs go, which, in turn, creates higher utility and home maintenance bills. Partner with a non-profit agency to underwrite the costs of modest repairs. 
    5. Outfit job seekers: Clean out your closets and donate EVERYTHING that you don’t need. Newly employed folks don’t have a lot of dollars for clothes and having access to a “work wardrobe” saves cash.

The Lowcountry is blessed with so many wonderful faith- and community-based organizations. There is definitely a place for your consistent financial support—and it’s really needed—but so is your experience, wisdom and compassion. Happy kids on Christmas morning is a really beautiful thing—but the long-term impact of stability resonates even louder. We can have both. Thank you for giving and caring. 
Toby Brown is the Executive Director of Midland Park Community Ministries. Email her at [email protected]
Contact info: Toby Brown; o: 843-553-2012 or c: 843-860-3097
facebook: midlandparkministries 

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