Charity begins at home

There’s the old saying which I’ve used as the title of this post that says “Charity begins at home.”  I’m pondering what that really means.  Does it mean that I must first be charitable to myself and then to my famly?  Does it mean that I’m to be charitable to those in my local community or church first and then reach out to the broader world.  I don’t know. 

These thoughts have been prompted by the food barrels the Youth Group at church have placed in the foyer, soliciting food donations for a local food pantry.  I haven’t noticed the barrels filling up very quickly and must admit, I haven’t taken a donation yet.  Being on a fixed income, I find I often have to refuse various opportunities to sponsor one (or more) of the youth in their various activities … walks, eating contests, etc.  I just can’t afford to do that.  But surely I can look in my pantry and find two or three cans of food to take for the food barrel.  I might feel like that’s the Widow’s Mite but Jesus blessed her for her giving and will do the same for me.  At least I believe He will.

The higher gasoline prices are also having an impact on my activities.  I recently signed up to volunteer at a Storytelling Festival.  The instructions I was given were that I should drive downtown and park in a certain garage and then walk over to my place to work at the Festival.  They said they’d pay for the parking.  That’s nice.  But I’d really rather drive a shorter distance to where I could change to the Metrolink train for the rest of the journey.  I’d have a shorter walk when I got downtown and would use less gas to get there.  I don’t know that the organization will be willing to reimburse me for my fare on the Metrolink which probably would be less than they’re willing to pay for parking.  That’s a question to ask at the orientation session tomorrow.

Knitters are pretty well known for their charitable works.  It seems like all you have to do is mention a need and knitters pick up their needles and yarn and get to work.  Blankets for Project Linus?  Okay, we can whip out a few of those.  Woolen socks and vests for orphans in Russia or Afghanistan?  We can knit some of those and mail them off.  Chemo hats for those having treatment for cancer?  What kind of yarn do you want us to use and where can we find the pattern?  Warm-Up America squares?  Yes, we’ll knit some of those and make sure they’re in acrylic, easy-to-care-for yarn.  Preemie hats?  Yes, it won’t take long to whip out a few of those since they only need to fit a large lemon.  Just point us in the direction of the pattern and we’ll get busy. 

Given the price of gasoline, I began to wonder if there will be an impact on our charitable knitting.  The acrylic yarns that we use for some of the projects are made from byproducts of petroleum.  Will yarn costs increase as gasoline has?  Thank goodness, most of us have a stash and can knit from it — at least for a while.  Some of us may never need to buy another skein of yarn given the size of our stash. 

Maybe charity beginning at home means I use the materials and means I have at home to help others.


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1 Response to Charity begins at home

  1. fillyjonk says:

    I always interpreted it as “make sure your own family is taken care of first, as they are your first responsibility, and then reach out to the wider world” but I could be wrong on that.

    I know gas prices are affecting my behavior – I drive as little as possible now. Which I suppose is a good thing in a number of ways but it also means when I DO make trips out I have to be super-organized and have lists and maybe be out for longer than I planned (because I’m going to more places in my “just one trip.”)

    I wonder if they’ll figure out more ways to recycle plastics to make acrylic-type yarns…my understanding is that plastic recycling isn’t more widespread because there are only certain things the plastic can be recycled into.

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