“Charity begins at home.”

“Give where you live.”

There are so many global situations that hurt our hearts with their stark need for food, medical care, clean water…and the list is never-ending. For many, this is a time of year for  giving and personal reflection.  For many of us, making a difference – a positive impact – that will live beyond our years here is what we strive to do.

Helping Locally Can Change the World

The smallest local gesture or donation can have far-reaching consequences! You never go how far hope will travel. Here are three additional reasons to give to Chicago-area charitable organizations:

  1. Your monetary or volunteer donation might be the impetus someone needs to get a job, go back to school, or strive for a better way of life. Just knowing that other people care can remind someone they are worthy and valuable, and they have something to give, too.
  2. You can give yourself a fresh start! When you organize your own house-cleaning for charity, your clean closets, garage, basement, or attic may motivate you to create that sewing room you’ve wanted. Monetary donations work the same way. Even if you only give a little, you may want to re-organize your finances so you can make what most organizations really need – regular, ongoing support upon which they can plan their annual budgets.
  3. Get a jump on tax-savings. There are financial advantages to donating to a 501(c)3 non-profit charity. Keep receipts for your donations to get the deductions you deserve. That’s a win-win for everyone: You give, you receive!

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago

We need financial support, but we also need people to pack food items and deliver them to Chicago-area people in need to help them celebrate the holidays.  The date for Passover Delivery is March 25th.  You CAN help! Contact us or call 847-674-3224 to give your legacy of dignity for others.

The concept of volunteering is difficult to explain to a small child, but they appreciate that helping others is a good thing. By the age of 4, most children understand, “I need help with dusting furniture,” and many can say, “I need a volunteer…”

Tips to Involve Children in Volunteering

Our friends at PBSparents offer the following tips to help you teach your child the value of volunteering:

  • First, be a role model.
    Children copy their parents; when they see you helping others, they will want to do it as well. Two-thirds of children who volunteer become active volunteers as adults.
  • Choose an activity that offers immediate results.
    Children get the most out of volunteering when they can see positive results. A littered park that is clean as the result of their efforts is a good example.
  • Find a fun, engaging volunteer activity.
    Remember to choose volunteering for children that is age-appropriate and more like fun than work. Most children love animals, so walking dogs or taking a dog to a nursing home to visit patients might be a good idea. One pre-k teacher says the formula is 2x their age + one. That means 8-year-olds’ activity focus is solid for about 20 minutes; change their tasks as often as necessary.
  • Make volunteering as a family a regular activity.
    Annual or more frequent volunteering as a family makes a huge impact on youngsters.
  • Pick a volunteer effort they choose and include it in the family calendar.
    Children will be more excited if they can “see” their activity is just as important as the rest of the family’s.
  • Volunteering can be simple.
    Choosing a toy from their toybox or shopping for a toy to donate is easy, especially when children physically place it among other donations.

Charity Begins at Home (Chicago)

We need volunteers to package and deliver food to those who are unable to afford sometimes-expensive foods need to worship in a traditional, Jewish manner at home. Our Passover Delivery Day is March 25th, 2018.  It’s a wonderful experience for the entire family.  Contact Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago to learn more.

Charitable organizations appreciate non-monetary donations; in fact, some of them are more clothing- or home accessory-based than cash-based. Unfortunately, sometimes people use these charities as a dumping ground for items that are too worn or damaged to be donated. “People will donate all kinds of garbage to thrift stores thinking that because people are poor, they’ll take anything,” observed one Quora blogger.

How to Maximize Your Donation

Here are some tips to keep in mind when donating items to thrift stores or charities:

  • Consider selling the items and donating the proceeds to charity. It’s a fun way to fundraise!
  • If you think it’s trash, it probably is. Throw away stained and excessively worn or threadbare items. If it needs minor repairs, consider making the repairs yourself. If it’s beyond repair, toss it.
  • Make a list. Even if you usually file “short form” taxes, you don’t know what the rest of the year will bring. Therefore, it’s a good idea to itemize your donations along with approximate value. Be realistic. Very few donated items are worth more than a dollar or two, except for large furniture or technology devices. Goodwill offers a Donation Valuation Guide, and most charities will provide receipts.
  • Organize by grouping similar items together. Girls’ clothing goes in one group, dishes in another, books in another. Separating your donated items saves volunteers hours of work.
  • Wash dirty clothes…seriously. Don’t donate dirty items at all, including clothing.
  • Wrap fragile items, including ceramics, china, and dishes. All breakables should be secured, as broken items are of no value and can present cut hazards and injuries to volunteers.

Making a Difference Forever

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.” -Shannon L. Alder

Every charitable organization requires cash donations and volunteers to complete their mission. Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago needs YOU. If you are not financially able to donate money to our efforts, consider leaving a legacy. Your caregiving and support will live forever, touching lives every generation, and your blessings will be remembered. Call 847-674-3224 because we need your support . . . and your prayers!

According to Forbes, economically, 2018 is going to be an okay year for the U.S. For most household budgets, charitable donations fall under the category of “disposable income,” and that indicator isn’t quite as strong. Income is rising, but the growth rate of disposable income has been slow.

Most how-to-donate advice says to stop donating sporadic, small amounts and focus on one or two charities, building your donation into your budget so they can build their budget based on your donation. It makes sense! But make no mistake – there are no charities that will turn away donations of any size, and we’re not too proud to beg, either!

How to Help in 2018

Even if you’ve never made regular donations to a charitable organization, you can build financial support into your budget for 2018. Here’s how:

  1. Pick Your Cause

“The more you can align your actions with your beliefs, the happier you will start to become in every area of your life.”  –Kate Dillman 

Focus on your values and explore your passions. If easing hunger or preventing animal cruelty is something you would like to support, go that direction and research local, state, national, or international organizations.

  1. Set Up a Bank Account

Create a savings account called “Donations,” and begin stashing money in it every paycheck. No matter how tight you are that particular pay period or month, there’s always something; buying a grocery store pizza vs. home delivery saves you $10, for example. Ten dollars may not seem like much, but it adds up.

  1. What Can You Sacrifice?

“Your sacrifice doesn’t have to be big.” –Jennifer Bernstein

Your venti mocha latte is almost $5/day or $150/month. Maybe you can make an adjustment in your budget and sacrifice one or two items often enough to make a difference to those who are needy.

  1. Automated Deductions, Donations

If you’re like most people, it’s easier to save money when it is paycheck-deducted. Try to set up auto-deductions into your “Donations” savings account. Once you’ve built up a respectable amount, decide how much you want to donate, how often, and set it up on autopay. Your charity will jump for joy because your monthly or quarterly donation is something they can depend on! They can better balance their own budget, thanks to you.

  1. Matching Gifts

If your company does not have a matching gifts program, make a case for your charity and their help! Even “We’ll think about it,” is better than nothing and may lead to…something.

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago

If charity begins at home, you have Chicago-area neighbors who will need food and support for the upcoming Passover Holiday.  a You can help us help them. Contact us to learn more.