Good (Canadian) Samaritans
100 Women Who Give a Damn make a difference in the Annapolis Valley.
Several of the world’s billionaires – of which there are now more than 3,300 – are publicly giving away much of their fortunes. Even corporations are recognizing the need to appear “socially responsible.” Those among us who faithfully insert money into a small envelope every Sunday, or make regular e-transfers to church, might be forgiven for wondering what the big deal is. Of course we support the church we attend. Of course we support Christian education, world relief organizations, social justice, environmentalism and the local food bank. Giving is built into our DNA.
Across Canada, more people are feeling the satisfaction, and the joy, of looking beyond their own narrow interests. Here in the Annapolis Valley, N.S., we saw an organization spring up some years ago that was called “100 Women Who Give a Damn.” The intent was that professionals and others with a decent income would meet quarterly, listen to presentations from three charities, and then vote on which one to support. Every member would give $100, so that if a hundred women actually joined, the chosen charity would receive a $10,000 donation. A male version of this group also appeared: “100 Men Who Give a Damn.” Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Covid came along and most volunteer organizations were hit hard. The 100 Women also lost members. Now, however, the group has reorganized as “100 People Who Care Giving Group.” (It’s an easier name to live with, if not quite as punchy.)
I joined recently and attended a meeting. This is clearly not a social group but one with a direct, businesslike approach to supporting local needs. One selected charity was “unable to attend” that evening, unbelievable as that seemed, so we heard two presentations only. A local vice-principal described the school lunch program at his school. This school includes several rural areas where many underprivileged students live. Without free food at school, they might hardly get a decent meal. A second presentation came from someone working with an organization to help troubled and abused youth. Her appeal for help might have been more successful if she hadn’t made herself part of the story, and it was the school which became the recipient of that quarterly donation. It’s an interesting concept, this meeting together for the sole purpose of supporting a charity. Being generous, doing Good Samaritan work, putting our money where our mouth is – none of it has ever been the sole prerogative of Christians. It’s encouraging to see that a world-wide new spotlight is being turned on loving our neighbour as ourselves.