After a glorious two years of partnership, Jen and Mad have announced that they are retiring from their work putting together and hosting the Just Posts. Their final Just Post hurrah will be on Monday, and for those asking what sort of retirement gift they’d like, they’ve put in a special request: to make a financial contribution to a charitable organization of our choosing, and to write about it. (If you haven’t seen their posts on this, in which they lay bare some of their behind-the-scenes discussion and debate, go have a look.)
I confess that I have never been great with donations. I’m inconsistent. I have a few organizations that I support, typically once a year. When they ask. And not even a great amount. If friends publicize a cause, or request sponsorship for a charity-based activity, I gladly contribute. But I haven’t made giving a regular part of my life.
So, I have taken a plunge that I haven’t taken before: I have signed up to give a regular monthly gift to the International Rescue Committee, which will be billed to my credit card.
The IRC just celebrated its 75th year of humanitarian relief and assistance to refugees.
Founded in 1933, the IRC is a global leader in emergency relief, rehabilitation, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement services and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression.
This is the same group I volunteered with back in 2001, when I was an ESL tutor working with refugees who recently resettled in the US. The office out of which I worked closed, sadly, due to post-September-11th reductions in refugees admitted to the US, but they organization is still active resettling refugees in many other cities around the country. They are also active around the world giving humanitarian relief, and campaigning to protect populations that are at risk due to war and other political upheaval in countries including the Sudan, Congo and Iraq. They are among the organizations working to get humanitarian relief to civilians in Gaza, where the crisis has been much on my mind these past couple weeks.
The monthly amount I’ve chosen is not huge for me, especially if I think of it in terms of a weekly amount. I’ve easily spent more than that on an afternoon snack and beverage. In those terms, I feel downright stingy. But it’s a solid start. And it makes me feel a bit warmer, knowing that I am contributing to an organization whose work I find so important, and in a way that will make it easier for them to do that work.