While driving through Lansing and Hegewisch this weekend, I spotted members of different Knights of Columbus groups handing out Tootsie Rolls and collecting donations. They walked along the cars at popular intersections or stood in front of busy stores, spending their free time to help others.
I felt a little guilty. First, for not having money to give them, and second, for not volunteering enough of my own time.
I’m sure I’m not alone in my excuses. I’m just too busy. I have a toddler, two part-time jobs, four pets to look after and family commitments. But there is always spare time. There are the hours I spend on the Internet, searching for recipes on Pinterest, checking out kid Halloween costumes on eBay or just looking at pictures of celebrities. I could put that time to better use.
When I worked full-time at The Times and connected more often with readers and club organizers, I heard the same story many times. “We need more young people to get involved.” “Our members are dying and there is no one to replace them.”
I often wonder if more seniors volunteer because they are retired and have more time on their hands or if it has to do more with older generations being more philanthropic than their younger counterparts.
I write about good, philanthropic kids all the time. Children who donate their birthday party presents to charity. Young people who volunteer at local hospitals and fire departments. I also write about helpful and charitable seniors. It seems to be those of us in between childhood and our golden years who have trouble finding the time to volunteer.
Maybe we should just start small. Even if we can’t donate a lot of time or join a charitable organization, maybe we can use our time for better causes.
Instead of eating out at a chain restaurant on Friday night, we could dine on fried perch, shrimp and chicken from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at LARC, 18043 Wentworth Ave. in Lansing. We get to eat and proceeds help a great local cause.
For tickets or information, call (708) 474-1540.
Instead of buying Halloween decorations at a store, we could pick out the perfect pumpkin at Settler’s Pond, a rescue for hooved and other animals. You can visit from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily now through Halloween at 1301 E. Offner Road in Beecher.
For more information, call (708) 663-8103 or visit settlerspondshelter.net.
In little ways, we can make a big difference in the lives of others and model ourselves after other generations’ acts of generosity.