Raise your hand if you’ve spent at least five dollars on coffee sometime in the past week. Or even this morning.
(FYI: my hand is raised)
Now raise your hand if you’ve consistently spent around five dollars on coffee as you head in to work, head home from work, or head somewhere with your kids on a daily or weekly basis.
(FYI: my other hand is still raised)
Raise your hand if you can’t help but stop at the Starbucks in Target and treat yourself to a five dollar or almost-five-dollar coffee before you grocery shop. Or raise your hand if you’re the “coffee shop” type who loves to find the best spots for a fancy coffee in your local city.
(FYI: I’m running out of hands to raise)
If you didn’t identify with any one of these scenarios, you’ve got serious, superhuman self-control, my friend. Or you just hate coffee.
Either way, my point is this: I spend what adds up to be a lot of money on a little luxury that, in all honesty, I don’t really need. For me, that luxury is my almost-five-dollar coffee drink. For others, that little luxury could be tea, or shoes, or the nail salon.
These things aren’t bad, and we all know that treating ourselves every so often is a good thing, but I’ve decided that I want to be a bit more creative with my money. However little I have to give.
One of the easiest ways to make an impact in this world, however small, is to acknowledge the creative work that others are doing and team up with them in ways that encourage the impact they’re making in this world. Sometimes “teaming up” means volunteering or offering your services to these groups. Other times, “teaming up” can be a simple five or ten dollar donation to their cause. Imagine if every time you treated yourself to a coffee on your way to work, you also made a donation to a group that is desperate for financial support. A daily decision that is simple and, as those donations add up, effective.
I’m excited about this new blog series called “Coffee $ Causes,” where each month I’ll share five awesome charities or organizations that need the coffee money that I, often times without hesitation, give away on a weekly basis.
Three great websites—CharityWatch, Charity Navigator, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance—grade thousands of nonprofits based on how those groups collect and spend their money, how well they’re managed, and how transparent they are to the public. I’ll be using these sites, among others, to help formulate my list of organizations I share with you for each month, but if you’re interested in seeking out groups that address particular needs that you feel passionate about, I suggest taking a look at those charity watchdog sites!
Since becoming a mom this past year, I’ve discovered that the stories of children suffering from abuse, homelessness, and other horrific causes break my heart in ways that I couldn’t have imagined before Olivia was born. So listed below are five organizations that are working to prevent, assist, and care for children in need:
Their stated mission is “To prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children,” and one of the ways in which they work to do this is through their nationally recognized home-visiting programs that serve more than 100,000 families in need. Their services “are proven to improve family self-sufficiency, improve early-learning in children, and reduce child maltreatment.”
Children Incorporated is working to help children escape the cycle of poverty by providing them with sustainable resources, education, and opportunity. They work in 23 countries, including the United States, and offer the opportunity to sponsor a child. How cool would it be to provide healthcare, education, food, and clothing to a kid in need?
Treehouse walks alongside at-risk teens and their families in order to accomplish four main goals: to “reduce at-risk behaviors; build healthy relationships with God, self, and others; graduate from high school; and pursue an educational or vocational track for their future.”
This faith-based organization makes sure that at least 82% of the money they receive from donors goes directly to the programs they provide for helping children across the world in poverty. They offer child sponsorships, help for babies and mothers, as well as provide education to those in the developing world.
The Children’s Health Fund works to bring healthcare and medical treatment to the nation’s most underserved children and families. They’ve got this sweet “Doctor’s Office on Wheels” that travels directly to where these kids live, study, and play (seriously check it out). Children in poverty experience higher rates of hospitalization and emergency room usage, as well as the stress of homelessness. Children’s Health Fund fights to provide healthcare to these kids in need.
If I can make a coffee-run each morning (or even afternoon) a habit, then I can certainly find a way to make a habit of supporting a few worthwhile organizations in whatever way I can. So if you’re interested, check out the awesome work this group of charities are doing. Support them if you can. I’ll share another group of “coffee $ causes” to keep in mind next month!