The Importance of Giving

A few days ago, I packed my son into the car along with my reusable bags and headed to the grocery store. I try to go during times when the store won’t be packed, seeing as though I like when the crowd clears up and I can actually find what I ran to the store for in the first place. Upon arrival, I walked into the local Trader Joe’s, searching for a cruelty-free, organic coconut body butter that was in my price range, (anything under $5 and that is bigger than 2 oz. fits my fancy just perfectly). I was lucky enough that I found it, (and a few other things as well). Now, I do have to say, there was still a crowd and a bunch of traffic despite visiting the store in the middle of the day.

After a successful grocery haul of bulk items and body butter, I was waiting in the line of traffic to leave the parking lot when I noticed a man, dressed in very dirty clothing with a huge back pack and a sleeping bag. He was leaning against a tree that was at the end of the parking lot for shade and resting his eyes. I normally don’t disturb people when I’m out, but lately, I’ve been going with my gut feeling on things and I had a feeling to drive over to him. I pulled over and looked around my car for anything that he might need.

Now I know that I shouldn’t assume that he was homeless or looking for help of any kind, but sometimes, it is just nice to help others and give without any assumption or judgement and just with kindness in my heart.  During my search I found three dollars in cash and a little goodie bag that I had received from the dentist office two weeks before still in my car. The goodie bag included a new toothbrush, a travel size toothpaste, and some floss, (which I also had at home already). I drove over to the man, rolled down my car window and asked the man politely if he could be of use of any of the items that I had to give him. I told him that it was a gesture of kindness and I didn’t want to offend if he didn’t need any of it. I mean, who am I to assume what his situation really is, his background, or how the situation appeared.  Tears came to his eyes and he exclaimed that he was so incredibly grateful for the dental hygiene items. He actually asked me if he, in return, could help me in anyway, (lawn work to be exact). I told him that was very kind, but I actually was not in need of it currently.  He waved as I drove away and went back to leaning against the tree.

Many would call me crazy and that many people who stand on street corners with signs, such as “will work for food” or “anything will help”,  are just con-artists that will do just about anything for “handouts”. Some would say that they could be waiting to hurt me or even attack in order to steal from me. I don’t believe that all of these individuals are just looking to take advantage of others.  In my opinion, we as a society need to be kinder to each other; not just to other humans, but to the animals and planet.

Giving matters in any shape or form, no matter how big or how small. Can you only donate $1 a month to your chosen non-profit organization? DO IT, because any amount matters. Don’t have the money to donate, but would love to donate your time to helping the world become a better place? DO IT, because even if you can only volunteer an hour every month to loving and socializing with animals, it matters.

Help change the world for animals and donate to Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary. Cotton Branch Farm is a sanctuary for abused, neglected, and abandoned farm animals.  Cotton Branch’s mission is to rescue such animals, provide them with safe housing and medical care and then adopt them out to suitable homes if possible, while also educating the public on ways to keep their animals in a safe, comfortable and healthy state. Also, it is one of the few sanctuaries who work to rehome and transport animals that it cannot take into its care. Cotton Branch’s board of directors is a family of volunteers, who work day in and day out to make it all possible for farm animals.

Want to become a part of a stellar team that changes the lives of farm animals on a daily basis? Become a resident’s sponsor! Want to donate specifically to the medical care of the farm animals Cotton Branch rescues? Donate to the Cotton Branch Care and Wellness Fund for Farm Animals! Become a monthly partner and donate on a monthly basis, (even if it is just a dollar). It makes all the difference in the world to the animals!

There are even ways to make contributions to Cotton Branch when you shop online! Check out Cotton Branch’s Etsy Store, do your normal online shopping at Amazon Smile, (where Amazon donates a portion of your purchase to Cotton Branch), or sign up with GoodShop & GoodSearch and get the best coupons for your online purchases, (and by using it, it gives back to Cotton Branch too!). There are so many ways to give!

If giving monetarily isn’t an option for you right now, donate your time! Cotton Branch is always looking for people with a variety of talents, (even if it is just donating love to the animals at the sanctuary), to help out! Join Cotton Branch’s Volunteer, Transport, and Action networks today!

Any way you can give matters. Live kindly and compassionately. Help your friends, family, neighbors, even strangers. Help all sentient beings, (which includes animals of course), and help the planet. It makes a world of difference, literately.

**This post was originally featured on Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary’s blog, The Branch.