When you meet the person you donate to 56



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I’ll admit I was a selfish person up until a few years ago. I would hardly ever donate to any charities, mainly due to not having enough of my own money, and also because I was brought up in a family that never donated. My mum always said “Charity starts at home”, which she clearly didn’t know the meaning of! She thought it meant that you look after your family first before others.

So I began donating recently after a woman came door knocking. She was so lovely and told me about the collection she was doing for cerebral palsy. She said that unlike some other charities, you aren’t able to see where your money is going and know it’s helping those in your postcode. And this young lady was right – never before had I been asked to donate money and know it was going to those nearby (though I knew those charities existed).

I donated my money each month and sort of forgot about it as I had a number of family emergencies to deal with. Then, when was in a doctor’s surgery in my neighbourhood one afternoon, I saw a woman in her 20s sitting in a wheelchair with her mum by her side. I started a conversation with her mum Cheryl and she started to tell me that young Eloise had cerebral palsy and had come down with a fever. She said that she had been happy lately as a new ramp had been installed at their house so they were trying to think positively even though you could see Eloise was unwell. I explained that I recently had started donating to cerebral palsy and she gave me a hug and wiped away tears. I can’t tell you how delighted I was – I had just realised my neighbourhood and I’s donations were helping them buy vital equipment.

Cheryl told me that they had struggled to pay for their house to be modified and before they benefited from donations, Eloise had to be lifted from her wheelchair by her 59-year-old mum and taken into the house. She already had a bad back but she had no other choice as she was a single mum for her disabled daughter.

This story goes to show that your donation, no matter whether big or small, really matters. And yes, while meeting the people who benefited from my donations was lovely, I now realise that the feeling of helping someone in need shouldn’t be diminished if you don’t get to meet that person. You just have to trust that your generous contribution will be received and will be put into the right hands. And as Cheryl said, they are so grateful and thankful for the strangers who do it and wish they really could thank everyone.

Since that chance meeting, I have begun volunteering at a local homeless shelter and I have had the chance to really help out in my community, something I wish I had done earlier. It’s never too late to start giving your time for someone else. It gives you a purpose and it keeps you going.


Tell us today, do you donate money to a charity or volunteer? Have you had a similar experience to this writer? 

Guest Contributor

  1. There are so many wonderful people out there giving generously of their time and money to help others. Unfortunately there are just so many heartbreaking worthy causes that desperately need help. If everyone does a little it makes a huge difference.

  2. Yes I donate both money and time. Every little bit we do can make a difference

  3. Some people unfortunately donate time but then expect petrol money if they travel a fair way to volunteer. Just find a place nearer to where you live and leave money for the purpose it really is for.

  4. I do but only to charities I trust after hearing some terrible stories of so much not making it to where the money was originally intended. But there are four we support every year; the Salvoes for their relentless care and concern for those in dire need and the Heart Foundation after my hubby suffered a heart attack four years ago. But the two closest to my heart are The Irene Gleeson Foundation in Kitgum, Uganda where more than 9000 children are fed, clothed, educated and their health needs tended to every single day in several districts all through the sponsorship of individual children – all through the vision of a selfless Aussie woman. The other one is Bloom Asia in Cambodia where young girls who have been rescued out of brothels from human traffickers are given hope, a new life and employment opportunities by being trained in the exquisite art of cake decorating. All through the vision of a very dear friend of mine, dozens of girls now are creating masterpieces that even the President of Cambodia, along with many many other high officials in the land, are ordering for their special occasions. And only a few months ago these girls – often only nine or ten – were locked up in a single room being made to do despicable things to please men without hearts. Here’s a recent sample of their work.

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    • I use to give to the Slavos until I found out the run on business lines. Yes they help out. Most of the people are volunteers, sent from the court or work for the dole. The prices in their charity stores are no cheaper than buying new. And when donating white goods or furniture the knock back so much because it not what they want eg working fridges etc

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  5. We can’t help every needy person in the world, but we can all help someone. I tend to favour overseas charities that I trust, because our local charities are well supported by Australians. We can’t compare the needs in the third world countries to the needs here, where help can be found. Basic sanitation, clean water and education for both sexes are my priorities when donating.

  6. I donate to some charities but after hearing about someone getting a $200,000 plus salary to work as a public relations officer for one of the big worthy charities I shy away from them. This person was not getting an executive job just a mid level position. Too much of our donations go to the fund raising organisation and not the charity. On Sunrise they had a segment showing that many of the big better known charities get less than five cents of your $. I choose local charities or organisations that do not have such high profiles.

  7. I rarely donate as I simply cannot afford to.
    However, I do deliver meals on wheels and I donate my time to do account books for a few charitable organisations. I also grow a few veggies and have fruit trees. So when I have excess, I donate these to our local ladies bowls club. They use them to make jams and pickles and sauces. They then sell these and ALL the money gies back into our local community. It helps with things like outings and picnics for the local nursing home. Plus it buys special little gifts for the elderly or disabled who don’t have anyone.

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  8. My focus is Lions Clubs International because I know 100% of funds raised go the purpose they are intended for – Lions operate 2 Accounts 1 Admin which is the members money 1 Activities which is project money & the members are volunteers so they don’t get paid.

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  9. Charities are ruining their reputations with big salaried CEO’s, questionable fleet car choices and diverting monies given to elsewhere when they feel like it. Local charities like the one in the story would be much more my cup of tea.

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