Ramona Paul, a resident who relies on the Salvation Army Food Bank, said she doesn’t know what she would do without this organization and the generosity the community has shown. (Jordyn Thomson/Western News)

OPINION: What’s Your Generosity Story?

For some, there reason for giving is because they were recipients of generosity themselves

By John Longhurst

People have different reasons for giving. For some, it is because of their faith; they believe calls them to give money and time to help others.

Others give because they want to see their communities thrive, or because they are blessed and want to share their blessings.

For some, it’s because they were recipients of generosity themselves, like Anne.

For her, it goes back to when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“During that time, my family was hugely blessed by our church, friends, and community,” she says.

From the simple act of bringing the family a meal on a busy, appointment-filled day, to connecting them with a support centre filled with helpful resources, the generosity of others saw them through the trying times.

At the same time, they benefitted from medical research, supported by donations.

“Thanks to God’s grace, and a fantastic team of doctors armed with amazing advances in technology, my Mom is now cancer free,” says Anne.

That experience has had a lasting impact on Anne.

“There is an important lesson to learn when we accept charity,” says Anne of how it has inspired her to now give to help others.

READ MORE: Canada’s charitable sector facing impending crisis, report says

Lori’s story is similar. When she was a university student, a great opportunity came along for an out-of-province co-op placement—but she couldn’t afford the airfare.

When her college heard about her predicament, they provided the funds so she could go.

“That was really a significant experience for me, seeing firsthand the way their generosity affected my future,” she says.

As soon as she was able after graduation, Lori donated back to her alma mater.

“The school is a very special community for our family,” she explains.

For Ron, it was help he received as a young person growing up in a poor family.

“Adults in my life showed me so much kindness,” he recalls. “It wasn’t always money, but often it was going out of their way to provide advice and time to help a kid find his way in the world.”

As an adult, he returns that gift by looking out for young people who might need a mentor or just a listening ear.

“It’s been a privilege to come alongside kids from local families, students from other countries and immigrants,” he says.

“Just being there, taking them out for a meal or event, or helping them to network to find jobs is very rewarding.”

If we look back, most of us can recall times when we were the recipients of kindness and help. If we are able, we can return the gift by being generous to others—close at home, across Canada or around the world.

What’s your generosity story? Tell us at generosity@abundance.ca

John Longhurst is a freelance writer.

With offices in Kitchener, Winnipeg, Calgary and Abbotsford, Abundance Canada is a donor-advised public foundation that enables individuals to achieve their philanthropic goals during their lifetime and through their estates.

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