“Tis the season….” The holiday season invokes our inner benevolence. Naturally, we want to gift family, friends, and loved ones with something meaningful, or maybe not all that meaningful but it makes us feel good. Assorted charities ask us to donate during the holidays, knowing we are in the giving spirit. Writing a check or dropping a $5 bill in the Salvation Army kettle makes us feel good. Essentially, the giving is about us more than those receiving our benevolence.

The late singer/songwriter/balladeer, Harry Chapin, was a crusader fighting world hunger. He questioned why hunger existed anywhere when the planet was so bountiful. In one of his concert clips, he talks about a school food drive culminating at Thanksgiving. The students, faculty and staff all brought canned goods et al to the school, filling a truckload to help families get through the holidays. He commended everyone for a job well done. He closes with “How about we do the same thing next week?” The truth of the matter is that we tend to give in the moment, in finite ways, and look to feel good about ourselves. Hunger doesn’t end with the holidays. Many are hungry in February as well. You can make a difference by donating to the food bank other than over the holidays.

How about other great causes? Your $25 donation to the cancer society may purchase the extra test tubes needed to complete the molecular separation leading a researcher to the discovery of a cure. You may donate the can of soup that helps feed a child who can go to school more prepared to learn that day. She may become energized over math because she learned the Pythagorean Theorem, going forth to become an industrial engineer focused upon safety. We never know how far our benevolence may reach.

Don’t stop at the causes. Tip your gas attendant an extra dollar. Unlikely it will change your life, but enough of those tips and it will change his life. Maybe you can round up the bill from your dry cleaner from $22.40 to $23, making a difference in that person’s world. How about those folks who take away your trash every week. Some folks gift these essential workers a few dollars around the holidays. Why not give them a few more dollars in July, when they combat the excessive heat and humidity that you are glad you don’t have to address?

The bottom line is that giving makes us feel good and can make a difference in someone’s life. If you are looking to feel good, we have several venues to help. On campus, we house a Food Pantry (in the mail room), the Alumni Fund (to help with books), the SCC Foundation Scholarships, and a multitude of other opportunities to help change lives, which is what we do here at your Salem Community College – we change lives.