“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” – Maya Angelou
Giving is an important aspect of life. Growing up, I was taught that lesson by my mother. We didn’t have very much money – she was raising me by herself after my father died – and she worked long, hard days to provide for me. But no matter how little we had, she always taught me the importance of giving. That last dollar in your pocket might mean a meal or a safe place to sleep for someone, instead of that cup of coffee you were planning to buy or that pack of bubble gum you have your eye on.
Working for El Hogar and traveling to Honduras, I’ve been exposed to the poverty that’s so intrinsically woven into that country’s society. There are very distinct class differences there – much more than in the United States or many other countries. The value of a dollar there takes on a bit more meaning when you consider the fact that $1 = about L22. *L stands for lempira, which is the currency in Honduras.
I don’t know if it’s because of growing up with very little money, but I have a habit of always picking up coins from the ground. It’s something that I’ve done since I was a young child and my friends have never understood it. Most of the time, the coins that I find are pennies – it’s a great day when you find a quarter or some other “big” money. Most people just throw away pennies as an unnecessary part of our currency here in the US, but not me. I’ve always had a coin jar around that those found pennies and other coins make their way into. As the jar fills, I look forward to the day when I can’t fit any more in and I roll the coins up to deposit at the bank. It’s at those moments when the real value of a humble penny can be seen and also when the laughs of my friends turn into looks of amazement.
I’m from the Mid-Atlantic and I knew about a well-beloved sculpture called “Penny Ben” in Philadelphia. This sculpture had been unveiled in 1971 and was covered in about 80,000 pennies – about $800 worth – collected by students in the city. It deteriorated over the years and was replaced in 2007 by a sculpture that incorporated keys and 1.8 million pennies – about $18,000 worth – from students. It’s another example of how powerful the humble penny can be!
Now, I’m not penny crazy, but I’m just trying to show how powerful small amounts can be when combined together. That’s the same way we work here at El Hogar. We have people from all backgrounds who give donations in a wide variety of amounts, both large and small. Those varying amounts combine to make our work in Honduras possible. Just like all of those students gave their pennies to make “Penny Ben” and his replacement possible.
I know that the summer is usually thought of as a time to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation. Here in Massachusetts, that usually means time at the beach or in the mountains. But I encourage you to make your summer count for more and to make it have truly lasting effects that will cross borders and oceans.
We recently launched a new monthly giving program at El Hogar called Partners for the Future, which gives people the opportunity to give a recurring gift each month to El Hogar in any amount that they’re comfortable with – $5, $25, $50… Those monthly gifts, like all of the other donations we receive throughout the year, add up to pay the necessary expenses each month to keep El Hogar going. Please take a few moments to make your monthly commitment to the children of El Hogar by clicking here.
Some people look for a way to make the summer last all year and this is one way that you can make that happen in a very good way!