Philanthropy in Calgary and around the world

United Way of Calgary and Area and Brewster Travel Canada had a “Stuff the Bus” collection drive last week, asking Calgarians to bring gently used winter clothing for people in need. Thursday morning a group of kids came to donate their mitts, hats, winter coats, boots, etc. It was cold, but they were all happy and had beautiful smiles on their faces. Watching their lovely little giving hands made me start day-dreaming.

I remembered the kids in my homeland, the kids who were homeless or orphans in a strong earthquake that happened in Iran in August. In this earthquake, at least 306 people died and more than 3,000 others were injured. The tragedy was not finished though. August, September and October passed and cold weather arrived. The government is still busy with organizing their accommodations, but it is too much for the government alone to handle this crisis. Iranians are very generous and kind-hearted; but the problem is that their small donations should be gathered and organized by an organization. Otherwise they are unable to help those areas in crisis. This is where non-profit organizations play a very important role. Unfortunately there are not many non-profits in Iran.

These days I receive e-mails and messages containing pictures from that earthquake-stricken area where kids have frozen hands and people are wrapping themselves in blankets to tolerate the cold. That makes me sad.

Again I find myself standing in front of the United Way bus watching those happy kids who are transferring what they do not need into LOVE. What a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas and what a nice way to teach them philanthropy!

Hey Calgarians! You are lucky that you have United Way and other non-profit organizations in your city who pave the way of helping others for you. Big-hearted people are everywhere but not all of them have United Ways around them. Take advantage of this opportunity in your city and help Calgary stay number one in philanthropy. Go here for a few ideas on how you can give back.

Nasim Khatibi is a communications advisor, and a volunteer at United Way of Calgary and Area

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