On a Photographer's web forum I am involved with, another photographer asked what we do to give back to the world. Currently, I am running a promotion and donating session fees to Rotary International to be earmarked to the Haitian Earthquake Relief.
Of course that made me think about going back into the world and giving. There are so many ways to give - money, recycling your belongings, giving a hand to a friend - maybe by supporting a goal they have or or promoting a business of someone you know and have done business with or someone in your circle of influence. We can run, walk, bicycle or even now do a Shrinkathon. We might participate via a Synagogue, Church or directly with a charity and we can have some fun doing it too. Literally, we can give blood via the Red Cross too.
One of my favorite stories of giving was about my great grandmother, Sosha Bella. My great grandparents owned a bakery in Los Angeles and my great grandmother would give the bread away when people came in that couldn't buy it. She was in charge of the front to the bakery with the girls. The boys were the bakers with my great grandfather, Hymie. In any case, they gave away all kinds of baked goods to the people who couldn't afford to buy. In my earlier years of my bookkeeping business, I always had one new business that I worked with at a reduced fee to help them get a foothold on business and sometimes I did things for free. I felt good helping a man fish instead of giving him one - although I have done that too many times.
In my photography world this last year, I have continually volunteered for http://www.bigsunday.org/ - for about 5 years now:
I have photographed at Temple Beth Havarim when the kids made flowers to give to the senior center
I have photographed several times at the Agoura Animal Shelter and even found a home for a Cairn Terrier named Robby who was there in the process.
I photographed at Rescate - which includes the West Valley Food Pantry
I photographed at the Ventura County Animal Shelter for an adoptathon - over 200 dogs and cats got new homes. This last year it was at the West Valley Sheriff's Station and we had 10 different organizations benefiting among them Operation Gratitude, the Girl Scouts and mostly the West Valley Food Pantry.
I am on the list for http://www.momentbymoment.org/ - an outreach of photographers to photograph sick and terminal children as needed
I photographed the Walk of Lights for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Woodland Hills
I had a friend photograph for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Orange County and I am participating in the Shrinkathon - the kickoff will be at my studio this next week.
I photograph for the several Chambers of Commerce - mostly the Woodland Hills Tarzana Chamber of Commerce but also the Canoga Park West Hills Chamber. I photographed for the Valley Cultural Center and I donated photography to Cabrillo Music Theater. I supported the LAPD and the Topanga Station by photographing the Topanga Booster's annual fundraising event.
I am a part of www.imagesforacure.org and donated session fees to the cause for Breast Cancer Research as well as to the Breast Cancer Fund.
We are big believers in giving in my house. Clean out your closets and give to Haven Hills.org or National Council of Jewish Women or Salvation Army. Clean the Pantry and give to Sova or West Valley Food Pantry - both supported by LA Regional Foodbank.
Let's dig deep and share the abundance we've been given. It's the best thing you can do to feel good from the inside out. And teach your children and grandchildren to do the same. It's very worthwhile. Show them by example.