Over the last year, I have been struggling to find ways to be a more charitable person. I am speaking specifically of tangible acts of charity such as preparing meals for people or even providing shelter and clothing in some way.
As stated in Matthew 19 and Galatians 2, Yeshua and the apostles instructed us as disciples to care for the poor, widow, orphan, and less fortunate.
Earlier, another 12-21 blogger, S. Michael, wrote about an article called “59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why” by Sam Eaton, blogger, speaker, and Founder of Recklessly Alive Ministries. I will not rehash here what was already said there, but the topic is similar. While the blog and article addressed Millennials’ attendance in religious institutions, I want to address the question some others might have had after reading the article: Now what? Where should I go or where should I look if I want to get my hands dirty and help?
For those people, here are some ideas for getting more involved in “hands-on” charity:
Feed My Starving Children
The mission of Feed My Starving Children is to provide shelf-stable, nutritious food to children at risk for malnourishment in high-poverty countries. When I volunteered with Feed My Starving Children I knew I was doing something really valuable with my time, and I had a great time doing it. This is a great place to plan a volunteer outing with your friends, family, or community. Trust me, you’ll have a blast.
Soup Kitchens/Food Pantries
Soup Kitchens can be found across the US and beyond. They are organizations that serve either free or very low cost meals to disadvantaged communities. Volunteer opportunities are usually available. This is a valuable and fulfilling experience. When I volunteered for my first Soup Kitchen, I remember seeing a part of the population I hardly ever see. It was eye-opening to say the least. See what you can find in your area at foodpantries.org.
Your Own Community
Take a minute and talk to your pastor, teacher, or rabbi about volunteer opportunities in the community and beyond. I am sure that he or she either knows of needs directly inside or outside the community.
Many churches already have efforts in place for meeting needs in the community. It just takes a little curiosity to find out. Pull out the phone book or browse the web and choose some churches to contact. Some churches have volunteer opportunities listed or linked on their website.
ACTS for Messiah
The organization ACTS for Messiah raises homeless orphans in Uganda. This home provides food, shelter, education, and support for those who enter university. Above all this, it is an organization that practices and teaches from a Messianic Jewish perspective. I happen to know the founder personally and she is an amazing, brave woman. While donating to an organization isn’t hands-on work, it is going toward a worthy and honorable cause. Donating to ACTS for Messiah supports our Ugandan brothers and sisters in the Messianic Jewish faith. Find out more at actsformessiah.org.
I am a college student and have the opportunity to help people every day on campus. There have been countless times when somebody asked me for food or money and I had nothing to give them. Recently, I decided to create gift packs. I place a couple in my backpack and, when I saw someone with a “Help! God Bless You!” sign, I hand them out as needed. Other times, I have brought people with me into a store to pick something to eat that I then buy for them.
There are so many opportunities to contribute toward others’ needs and to display our faith in Yeshua through our actions. It just takes some curiosity, creativity, and willing hands.