The Art of Giving

  • Do you want to give, but sometimes find it difficult to work out ‘how to do it right?’

    Giving is a wonderful thing to do. But sometimes we might be a bit over enthusiastic and not realize it is a more complex act than we ever imagined!

    Case in point:

    My partner is always looking for ways to ‘give back.’ They are retired (although still work part time and have a lot of hobbies,) but they will still have time in the day to ‘do’ something for others.

    Giving is in their nature, but it is also something they consider carefully before carrying out. (Sadly many a time their efforts have been unappreciated, although they say they do not do it for the praise. But they do want to see that their input has been useful, productive and received well by the recipients. Even if they don’t ever meet the latter in person.)

    I.e. We donated to the ‘brothers’ orphanage in Malaga for a few years in a row, only to find out there is a poor management system in place and many thousands of donated items just sit in a warehouse unused and undelivered.

    It was at this point we decided, (I am involved usually in the communication element of finding the ‘right’ charity or place for my partners donations as they are ‘practising to be a recluse’,) that we would only donate to smaller charities and where we at least knew what was happening to our donations. Think of Oxfam and other large organisations that although they ‘intend to do good’ where less than 50% of the actual money donated gets to the final destination. Not very heartening for the person who has volunteered for free in a shop or a person who has given £1 of their hard earned cash.

    After a few false starts; (we were not welcomed in a ‘group’ that was raising donations for a local charity. Sadly politics always seems to be par for the course if you try to work where there are strong personalities!): We approached directly smaller and often not well known charities to offer our help. Thankfully we have found one in particular for material donations; (my partner knits blankets that are all individual and are given to children that are put into foster homes as they have been taken out of violent homes/situations.)

    My partner’s current conundrum is how to find people who need help in our village (Alhaurin el Grande), without them feeling they are a ‘charity case.’  My partner loves to cook and is willing to buy in fresh veg each week and make a large quantity of soup (hot in the winter, cold in the summer,) to donate directly to a few families in need.  We are well aware that there can be stigma attached to ‘asking for help’ but we hope that with a little work we will find the people who need it most and are not offended by us making a donation of ready-made food. NB We never give cash to less well-off neighbours as sadly we have experienced them knocking at our door for more. Likewise, there are several people nearby to us with drug and alcohol abuse issues, and we have witnessed them selling their ‘Food pack’ (provided by the Junta, with EU funds) to obtain drugs and alcohol. We find that a material donation (with limited sell on value) is the only way.

    However, we have exhausted our local network of possible sources for those in need. (We have we think managed to secure one family who are very happy to accept a weekly donation, but our other usual contacts have returned the containers for the soup and stated they do not want anymore.)  I did ask for feedback ‘is it to Spanish taste, is there anything you would change on the seasoning etc?’ but the only feedback we got was ‘I don’t want anymore.’

    So…. We are looking for two or three more families in the village (near to town hall if possible for easy delivery, or someone willing to collect from us and deliver to families.)

    Do you know of a family who would welcome a weekly donation of soup? (Hot recipe in winter months, cold in the summer.)

    We are making a quantity enough for 3 or 4 families of 2-6 people.

    We would like the containers back to re-use. So please factor this in if you wish to help us to help others.

    Please PM me in confidence. We are happy to meet the go-between.

    NB We want total anonymity and no contact with the recipients, partly to make it easier for them to accept, but also we do not want people knocking on our door asking for other ‘help.’ (I know it sounds selfish, but we have to go on our previous experience.)

     

    (Note: We are aware there are a couple of Church charities that have ‘soup kitchens’ in Alhaurin and Coin, but we are individuals just trying to ‘give directly.’ Maybe it is too much of a tall order? But I am sure with a bit of help we can pass on our good fortune to others who may need a hand from time to time.)