Small Gifts, Big Heart, Even Bigger Rewards

If you have been blessed with good fortune or just a nice steady middle class lifestyle, you can count your blessings. With the current rough economic times, many families are not so lucky. While making charitable donations to your church or local telethon are greatly appreciated, there is a more rewarding way to help.

Every community across the world has a variety of opportunities to make small gifts that have a huge impact on the recipients as well as the those giving the gift. Let's look at a few ways you can impact the lives of others. You can do it anonymously or actively participate, the choice is yours. For $100 or less, you can put a big smile on the face of someone who may not have too much to smile about lately.

Finding A Family In Need:

If you are active in your local community, you may already know one of your neighbors that recently lost a job or recently fell upon hard times due to a disability or death. If not, ask a friend or you can ask a local church secretary, they usually have their fingers on the pulse of the parish.

Tell them you would like to directly help a family in need and ask if they have anyone in mind that could use a little extra help this month. You only need one family, plus get their phone number and address in the process. Now you are ready to move forward.

Three Simple But Effective Scenarios:

1. Grocery Delivery: You can either go directly to a local grocery store and purchase some high value family food items or you can leverage your efforts by talking directly with the store manager and asking for their help. If you can get the store involved, mention that you are willing to spend $100 and would like to provide as much help as you possibly can. They may be willing to throw in many extras as part of your efforts.

All you need to do now is arrange delivery. If you are so inclined, you can drop by and deliver the groceries yourself. You can tell them that you are just the delivery person and that the store instructed you to deliver to them. Or if the store has a delivery service, you can ask the manager to arrange delivery. Either way you have done a really nice thing for that family.

2. Gift Delivery: If your source of information about the family can give you some additional information about their specific needs, you can try to make the same type of arrangement with a local department store or wholesale club. Tell them that you would like to spend about $100 and get as much merchandise as you possibly can. The manager can probably help make your gift go much further.

Delivery can again be done in person if you are so inclined, you can ask the store manager if they can arrange delivery or you can put all the merchandise in a box and have UPS deliver it with a note. Either way, it will be a pleasant surprise for the family.

3. Family Dinner Out: Another great way to give a gift is to contact the manager at your favorite local family restaurant and tell them that you would like to arrange for this family to receive a free meal. make arrangements to provide your $100 in advance and ask if the restaurant would be willing to add any extras to the package. Free desserts, drinks or appetizers can be a nice addition that the family may not usually order.

Once you get agreement with the restaurant, you can prepare a special certificate or use something that the restaurant already has prepared. Let them know that they were selected randomly for a special family dinner and list what is included in their prize. You can personally deliver it or send it via priority mail. Tell them to contact the manager to make a reservation and ask that the manager to let you know when they will be dining. If you would like, you can dine there at the same time and ask to be seated a couple tables away to enjoy their good fortune from a distance. Making their "night out" special... will usually make yours as well.

Summary: Your rewards will be greater than you realize. Just knowing that you helped someone who really needs it can provide a great sense of satisfaction. Whether you do it anonymously or directly, you can go to sleep knowing that you made the world a slightly better place with your efforts. Some people actively try to do this every month or even quarterly. It gets easier every time and is sure to put a smile on someone's face... theirs and yours!