Shall you give money, as well as time and thought ? You should do so if you can. And you can, or not, according to your habits and resources, but chiefly according to your habits. It has been said that the Waste of the world could amply care for the Want of the world. Are you wasting what will supply what others are wanting? Before determining, offhand, whether one wastes money, or not, it is worth while to stop for a moment to consider the great bene fits that may be derived from small sums of money.
One cent per day may be spent for chewing gum, or saved in a penny bank for one year, will amount to a sum sufficient to give a child of the slums a trip to the country in summer. Or, it will purchase three or four weekly mag azines for a year for a boys' or girls' club.
Five cents per day may be spent for a glass of beer or soda, or, accumulated daily for a year, it will provide winter shoes for several children, or a Christmas dinner for several families.
One ten cent cigar a day would clothe a col lege student, while fifteen cents daily would pay the entire tuition bill of a student in one of the smaller colleges for one year, with nearly five dollars over for incidentals.
Many of the most admirable charity organi zations carry on their practical work, in large part, from annual fees of the members, of five dollars, or less than one and one-half cents per day. Five cents daily is almost sufficient to give you membership in four such organiza tions.
But never permit membership alone in chari table organizations to satisfy your philan thropic interests. The one valuable asset, alike to you and to the society, is direct personal interest. Should you ever encounter a society that would rather have your money than your interest, give neither. A society that cannot discover a means of turning your interest to its own good is wrong somewhere.
While some of the benefits resulting to you from an interest in philanthropy have been pointed out, there is another yet to be men tioned which is especially valuable. A genuine and unselfish interest in philanthropic move ments is a character asset of the highest order. The young man or woman who is busily en gaged in trying to win success, and who for no selfish purpose is also interested in the wel fare of others, has thereby become a significant member of society. People of influence turn
to such a person, willing to extend help and advice. And yet, valuable as this phase of the matter is, the greater benefit lies in the opportunity offered to develop through meet ing and knowing the problems of other peo ple and helping to solve them. This is a real investment in those things that bring satis faction and content unto the end of life.
Careful inquiry into the Want of the world places the whole question of individual Waste clearly before us. One has a right to do what he will with his own so long as he keeps within the law. But whether one has the right to go through life, blind to the obvious misery about him, is another question, if one acts from the point of view of the moral law. Society may be wrongly organized; another order of things may, when established, banish poverty and disease; but, meanwhile, people hunger and suffer. Poverty crushes the ambition of the young. Disease mars the quality of citizen ship for years to come.
While some are pondering on the great cure for these evils, let us not be oblivious of the fact that shelter, food, and clothing are as necessary now as they will be then. And let us determine individually, whether we are wasting what might be converted into the bare necessities of thousands, out of our portion.
While the investigation of charity through organizations is the simplest way to proceed, it is a question if one should not, at least, in part, organize his own charities.
In our own world of environment we come upon many an opportunity to offer the helping hand. The case before us may demand an im mediate action or it may require consideration, but by inquiring we can generally justify the situation. The worst that has ever been said of organized charities is that they consume a large proportion of their total funds in work ing expenses. To give a dollar there must be two in hand. But this, while often true, is not always true.
Whether a man gives through organizations or through his own investigation, the essential fact for him is this : Do not give as an easy penance, but out of a vital interest in people who, climbing the hill of life, bear a heavy load on a slippery path.