Mathare Valley Slums, Nairobi, Kenya
Poverty and despair are all around us. In our own neighborhoods, counties and around the world. We can become so overwhelmed by the statistics and the needs of this world, that we stop - and do nothing. I was thinking about some of the things that I have done over the past month and wanted to share with you these ideas for helping people. They take little time and money, but can help you down a path of generous giving and living your life for others.
1. Change your focus and perspective - If you follow Christ, read the book, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, CEO of World Vision. If you are not a believer, read the book, Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof ( or read both books either way - they are both awesome). These books will impact your lives and help you to see the needs in our world in ways you may not have seen before.
2. Find an organization serving girls rescued from sex trafficking. Find tangible ways to help the ministry or organization. I just purchased outfits for a 10 year old girl who saw her parents both murdered, was then sold into slavery and forced into the sex industry at age 8. She was rescued and is now living at a Christian safe home and being raised by people who love her and teach her about Jesus. This took about 2 hours and $200 dollars to make a difference in a young girl's life.
3. Purchase inspirational books or devotionals that you can give to others in need or people that you meet. I just purchased copies of the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young in Spanish for girls in Mexico City. I have also recently given the same book that comes in a kid's version to children we know. I pass out the books, Hole in Our Gospel and When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert to anyone who will read them. They are awesome books on poverty alleviation and long term solutions, and what we as Christians are called to do as we follow Jesus. Costs can range from one book at $10-15 or more if you buy multiple copies.
4. Keep gift cards in your car to give to people in need who are homeless or living in poverty. I keep $15 Subway gift cards in my car and hand them out when I see a need. I pray that God will give me discernment about who I give these to, but ultimately figure that God would rather I error on giving someone on a corner a meal, than by judging them and not helping. I like Subway because the meals are healthy, $15 goes a long way and there is no access to alcohol if the person has an addiction. I spend about $60-75 at a time when I purchase these cards.
5. Give financially to organizations who are making a difference in the fight against poverty and injustice around the world. Sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion International or support a non-profit like ours at E4 Project. Any small donation to organizations who are serving around the world help in amazing ways. The photos below are ministries of ours that serve widows and orphans in Gabon, Africa. You can give a gift of only $25 or much more....
6. Volunteer at a food bank, local high poverty school or inner-city ministry/organization. There are so many opportunities in your own community or city nearby. This photo is of my son serving an inner city school through a ministry that the woman he rides with leads. This does not cost anything but some of your time.
Poverty is highly complex and there is a lot to learn about long term solutions if you are interested in becoming more involved in being the change that our world needs. The above are just some easy ways for those of you who do not know where to begin, but know that you cannot sit by and do nothing. Every one of us can make a difference. If every person changed just one aspect of their lives to include caring for the poor and needy, our world would change.
If you want any more information on organizations that you could serve with or give to, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org