Students should be charitable year-round
by Styvalizh Uribe
graphic by Kaitlyn Do
Why do people end to only volunteer during the holidays?
As winter is deemed the “season of giving,” it influences the moral obligation of many, which then increases the act of charity during the holidays.
The immense need for donations is present in society, but giving is not always applied in a charitable way. Because of this, there is a notable, limited time-frame in which students genuinely consider donating or volunteering.
According to Sandra Miniutti, vice president of marketing of Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates charities, “nearly 50% of all charitable giving happens in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year.” Thirty-four percent of donations to charitable organizations takes place between October and December, with half of that being donated in December alone.
According to dailytexan.com, “despite the efforts of many in encouraging donations, there are still people who fail to do so.” Lack of action in showing compassion to others that are less fortunate may have possibly resulted from the capitalistic idea that hard-earned money is a reward.
One may feel more justified in spending the money on Christmas decorations, which may, in turn, reflect status or economic wealth to others, rather than helping those in need. However, it is important to donate either time or money to help charities because many of those that are less fortunate are victims of arbitrary fate.
Why should students volunteer throughout the year?
While giving during the holidays is customary, this once-a-year tradition should become a year-round habit that not only makes a difference in the community but also provides personal meaning.
The influx of donations helps nonprofit organizations carry out their missions, but there are many people and groups still in need year-round. According to ehow.com, “food banks get so much support during the holidays, but come summer they’re in dire straits and that’s often when they have the most demand for food because school is out and some children aren’t getting their meals,” illustrating that despite the increase in giving that occurs at the end of the year, most organizations still fall short of the amount they primarily hoped to raise.
Issues such as homelessness are not unique to the holiday season, yet extravagant spending is. The means to aid charitable organizations are available as proven by the $20 billion Americans spend on Christmas decorations each year, according to businessinsider.com.
Instead of spending lavish amounts of money on superficial joy, students should redirect their expenditures to nonprofit organizations, simultaneously creating an opportunity to reflect on how privileged or well off they may be compared to others who cannot raise enough to feed their own mouths.
Therefore, an increase in donations throughout the year can help nonprofit groups do a better job of working toward their missions and still provide personal joy.
How should students volunteer throughout the year?
While many charities increase their services when giving is most prominent, volunteers should offer their services or take on other responsibilities that build on the capacity of the charities.
According to cengagelearning.com, “66% of students have the capability of volunteering within their community and 61% can volunteer through school organizations.”
While charitable work does look good on college applications, partaking in these activities can allow one to learn more about what their passion is and discover new interests.
For example, the School on Wheels is a non-profit volunteer organization that enhances homeless children’s education with academic stability from volunteers and mentors while also accepting donations of school supplies.
Students would have to take an online orientation, an introductory training and then will be synced with the perfect student-teacher match. For more information or to apply, please visit their website at schoolonwheels.org.
Another volunteer opportunity would be Heart of Compassion, a religiously affiliated organization that provides necessities for the needy as well as helpful resources. With a mission to fight poverty and restore hope, their vision is to help and empower residents to achieve self-sufficiency. Visit heartofcompassionca.org for more information.
Ultimately, plenty of these warm feelings can also be achieved by participating in charitable events year-round so students should actively volunteer.