on charity

I’m not a charitable person. That’s the truth. I said it.

I don’t make enough money to be charitable. That’s also the truth.

I give where and when I can, but it’s never anything significant. I know that small donations can add up over time and in frequency, but I always feel like a dumb ass giving one or five dollars. I want to give enough to justify a tax write-off and that’s not only because I want the tax write-off.

I’ve been very lucky in my life. In certain ways, I think I’ve had hard time and obstacles, but those are the minority when faced with the opportunities that I’ve had. I think it’s important to be able to give back some of that luck, to pay it forward. And I’ve never been able to do that monetarily……until now.

November is a cruel month for me. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It’s the month that I was born and I hate my birthday.  It’s also the slow end of autumn, as the true cold of winter sweeps in. But it’s also a beautiful month of sweater weather and still-changing leaves. It’s also the time of Thanksgiving, which my second favorite holiday.

This year, I wanted November to mean something more to me. I decided to raise money for charity. I did this in two ways. First, I decided to participate in Movember. Second, I rallied my office and myself to run a 5k race.

Movember is a no-brainer for me. I love the idea of growing a mustache to raise awareness. And I like an organization that is willing to drop the curtain on masculinity. They battle cancer’s prevalent in men and work to reduce suicide rates in men. You can find more information here, if you are interested.

I pledged to raise $200 for the organization and I pledged to run 60 miles. Neither was easy. I hate running. I like to exercise, but I’m a weight lifter. My partner is the runner. Anyway, 60 miles is a challenge and I like to be challenged. It’s important to step out of comfort. I am cozy in the gym. Not so much on the running path.

$200 was not going to be easy either. I hate asking people for money. My adverse reaction to fundraising ended my career as a political science major. I couldn’t do it. Again, I needed to break out of my own fears. So, I asked the social media for money. I asked my work for money. I asked my family for money. It was not easy, but I was able to raise a good amount of coin for a organization that does good work.

As if this all wasn’t enough, I guilt-tripped my co-workers into attending a 5k in the middle of November. Despite the guilt, the organization was for a scholarship fund for community college students. So, I felt fine asking them to run to support student’s who need that assistance.

Here’s the truth: Charity ain’t easy. But it’s important. Even if it takes you time and energy, giving back matters. We live in a society driven by greed. Thinking of others is more important than ever.


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