Charity sees the need,
Not the cause.

We are taught it is our mission to help others. So we do. You’d think being a charitable person would, in itself, be a good thing but there are actually right and wrong ways to be charitable.

Personal finance writer Liz Weston says the best rule to follow when contributing to organizations that serve the needy is, “Take your time.” Shotgun-giving doesn’t help you make knowledgeable choices, and often the amount donated causes more problems than good. Here are three of the “charitable mistakes” many of us make:

1. Giving too little

By the time a $25 donation is processed, much less than $25 eventually trickles down to the needy. And any donation – no matter how small – indicates to a charity that if you are courted, you might give more. So the organization may spend twice as much as you donated trying to persuade you to increase future donations.

2. Emotional donations

Rather than make one-time donations based on an emotional appeal, it’s best to focus on one or two organizations that represent your passion for good. Let’s say your focus is child abuse. Now, let’s narrow it down even further: does an organization like CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) or Lunches of Love (LOL) speak to your passion for helping needy children?

3. Last-minute support

The year-end and new year holidays inspire us to be better people; we want to share some of our blessings with those less fortunate. Again, last-minute giving to random charities is not nearly as effective as regular donations to one organization. Your charity can build a budget around your regular donation when you make monthly donations. It helps with cash-flow, year round and better serves the needy than one larger donation at tax time.

Learn Before You Leap

No matter how heartfelt the request for charity, it’s simply best to avoid telemarketing and storefront solicitations. Maot Chithim of Greater Chicago is not a billion-dollar charitable industry with well-paid CEOs, so we get a big bang out of small donations! Call 847-674-3224 or contact us to learn more.

Spring cleaning! It’s not a tradition from a bygone era; according to the American Cleaning Institute®, 72% of U.S. households continue to engage in spring cleaning of some kind. In addition to specialty cleaning, like ceiling fans and window-washing, it’s the time to rid yourself of items you no longer use and do not anticipate ever using. Let’s face it: Even if you have a maid and a household cleaning staff, no one can do your spring cleaning for you. No one else knows the value of what’s in your closets, basement, and attic.

You may have items that would mean much more to others.

As you go about reorganizing your living spaces, here are some items that are tax-deductible when donated to a Greater Chicago charity:

  • CDs, DVDs – With online movie/music streaming, it’s time to box up those you never use and drop them off at a donation site.
  • Clothing – It’s been three years and you still haven’t dieted down to the size 10s that take up much of your closet. Donate them. Your reward will be the shopping spree for new clothes.
  • Dishes – Take everything out of your kitchen cabinets and place in boxes. As you use dishes, return them to the cabinets. After one month, if you have more in your boxes than in your cabinets, it’s time to donate some dishes.
  • Shoes – If you need closet space, start with the floor and donate the shoes you never wear to someone who needs them.o

Other items you can donate to others and receive a tax credit for your generosity include:

  • Books
  • Craft supplies
  • Furniture
  • Home improvement supplies
  • Interior décor
  • Stuffed animals
  • Technology items
  • Toys
  • Vehicles

Donating to Maot Chithim with Amazon Smile!

We don’t accept donations of clothing or other household items, but we are in touch with local organizations that do, so contact us for additional information. One of the ways you can donate to Maot Chitim is when you shop Amazon Smile; a portion – .05%  – of your purchase price can be designated to Maot Chitim! This is a win/win!

It’s tempting – and let’s admit it – too often, it’s necessary – to eat meals on the run. One woman said she only saw her husband when they passed each other in cars as they chauffeured their children to and from practices and lessons. “He would wave his taco, and I would wave my burger, and that was supper!” she recalled.

When you’re finally all together at home, the kids want to play video games, talk to their friends on cellphones, and you’re so tired you just want to zone out in front of the television.

The “family dinner” is an infrequent, special event to most of us. But there are two important reasons you can and should strive to have family dinners every week.

  1. Nutrition: Fast food = fried food. Obesity experts cite fast food as the leading cause of obesity in children.
  2. Healthy Choices: Family dinners offer more variety, so kids are exposed to different types of food. The more often they are exposed to new foods – without the “Eat this or else,” warning – the more often they will try them. Plus, you control the portions. Americans have super-sized themselves into international obesity leadership roles.

When you are an active, dynamic household, family dinners are just one of the ways you can stay connected with each other. Volunteering together, as a family, gives your children lifelong skills and humanitarian values that will serve them and their children for eons. Volunteering helps your family unit learn about their individual personalities, too!

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago is an organization that has served family dinners and kosher meals to needy people in the Chicagoland area for over 100 years. We understand that “time is money,” and appreciate the fact that it’s often easier to donate financially. But the lesson still applies when you include your family in a donation: Our legacy is one of charity; it is your mitzvah (commandment) to help others with a willing heart.

Call 847-674-3224 or contact us to learn more about ways your family can help our family!

Helping others is a part of our culture. It’s also one of the ways we reinforce the importance of our traditions. Holiday volunteering is especially useful to youngsters; it helps them understand the blessings they have and the blessings they can be.

Your Volunteer Goals

The first positive benefit that family volunteering offers is that it enables a dialogue among family members: How can we serve? What can we do? What are our unique talents? As you plan your volunteering-as-a-family activity, discuss these points:

  • What do we care about and what is interesting to us?
  • What special skills/talents do we have?
  • What kind of volunteering is appropriate for every age in our family?
  • Should this be a one-time project or an ongoing activity?
  • What do we hope to accomplish?

Family Volunteering Benefits

The generationOn website says volunteering as a family helps your youngsters focus on things larger than themselves. Research confirms there are positive benefits for volunteers too, when they work with their family to help others.

  • Values such as caring and empathy are cultivated as well as a commitment to serving our community
  • Children – especially teens – feel appreciated and respected when they volunteer, plus they learn new skills that may serve them later.
  • Parents are able to act as role models and can use the time to open more channels of communications with their children.
  • Connections to the family unit and the community are reinforced while creating a more positive sense of self.
  • The age and generation gap becomes smaller as we recognize that each of us can effect change for the better: From grandparents to preschool, we can help.

Maot Chitim: Charity Begins at Home

Call 847-674-3224 or contact Maot Chitim to learn more about how your family can help. We know that your time is truly more valuable than money! If volunteering is not possible, your financial support can be a family project, too. And don’t forget to support our sponsors! We depend on their support and services, as we continue to help those who need us most in the Greater Chicago area.

Passover 2017 was celebrated by approximately 15,000 people who would not have had the means nor the ability to observe this traditional holiday without YOU and your volunteer efforts/monetary donations! Maot Chitim volunteers remember this year’s Passover as time of unity and camaraderie; we joined together to serve others. Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago encourages volunteering for the holidays as a way of sharing the blessings we have experienced, particularly the blessing of being able to worship, our way, with dignity during our holy days.

If you have served as a warehouse package packer, a delivery driver, or helped in any way, we value you! We also work closely with social service agencies (The Ark, Chai Lifeline, Shalva, Ezra, Lutheran Social Services, Council for Jewish Elderly, and Catholic Charities). They can provide us with referrals for individuals/families who would benefit from a holiday food package or a community meal.

Celebrating 100 Years of Volunteering

Giving is most blessed and most acceptable when the donor
remains completely anonymous.-Rabbi Moses ben Maimon

While we’re giving thanks, please be sure to patronize our generous Maot Chitim sponsors:

For additional information about ways you can volunteer, call 847-674-3224 or contact us today!