I opened mysterious residence mail today; I mean there were no bills, just invites. Why do I say mysterious? Well, there were several invitations for attendance (free) for myself and my husband Joe for lectures and events. From medical lectures on subjects I must say interest me to retirement luncheons to group vendors in writing and publishing events, to all we, were invited. It happens regularly here at our home in Springfield, Massachusetts. Some invites are meant to involve us in the good work the host is accomplishing hoping we will eventually commit to donate. We will to some, but not to all. We could not.

September is an important month for non-profit fundraising. We, as taxpayers are all influenced somewhat in considering what and how much to donate before the end of the year. The ninth month of the year mark is a target set to remind potential donors; and the knowledge that charitable contributions allowed for tax deductions are up from 50% to 60% this year makes the reminder is helpful.

Many of the lectures and events offered to us are full of valuable personal and health information. Given that we live in western Massachusetts surrounded by a plethora of university, colleges, hospitals, medical facilities, museums, and many other organizations whose goals are lofty, it is not surprising to find professionals willing to hold conferences and events for public and selected public audiences. We are fortunate.

Now comes the problem!. How many days a week is the average person available to leave the home or work and attend a lecture or event? Each of us has allegiances to family, friends, and personal investments in church or other organizations that require regular support. I personally participate in Yoga class, or correct that, attempt to participate in Yoga class twice a week. Many of the ladies in my Yoga class join with the instructor Mary Ann Dietschler and work diligently on a project called, “Wreaths With a Reason.” It truly is a worthy cause. The organization’s founder has with the help of volunteers raised over $25,000 to donate to the ‘Underground Railroad’ which has saved over 700 young girls and boys from sex slavery and has led to the arrest of many child sex traffickers. What do these women and men do? They buy or donate or make wreaths or scour tag sales for wreaths to be redone or knit items to decorate images on wreaths or make ribbon bows or….. It is truly an ad hoc manufacturing effort. All sales go the ‘Underground Railroad.’

All of you I am certain are involved in volunteering to help someone, some agency, some church, some organization, solely from the intrinsic desire in your heart to give. The desire is strong to be charitable. So I try to fit in some of the free lectures and events. I want to value what people do. If I am able, i donate. If am able, I work. All types of work are needed for charitable institutions. Being a docent at a museum, an information guide at the hospital, a board member, a crisis volunteer, and the list goes on, are pivotable in the support of our society. Making wreaths which calls on the creative drive, as I have seen, is important.

K. B. Pellegrino, Author

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