The Health Benefits You’ll Receive by Donating to Charity

The season of giving is upon us once again and it’s time to jump back into the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The gift of giving is a wonderful feeling. It’s a happy moment seeing the smile on your loved one’s face as they open each gift you’ve picked out just for them. However, studies show that giving has added health benefits for the giver. Moreover, there are a variety of ways that those who give charitable donations can reap added (and surprising) health benefits while helping those in need.

Whether we are offering emotional support for loved ones, volunteering our time to assist an organization, or donating money to charity, there are more ways to enjoy the health benefits of giving than simply shopping for the perfect gift. Giving to a charity may also help boost your physical health and mental well-being.

Check out these reasons that demonstrate how giving is good for you!

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Donating is a selfless act. One of the major positive effects of donating money to charity is simply feeling good about yourself. Being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth. Instead of putting money toward a gift someone may look at once and never use again, you can donate that money to a charity in need on your loved one’s behalf or send a symbolic gift (check out Save the Children’s gift catalog for ideas). This leads to a feeling of self-worth knowing that you’re offering much-needed resources to a great cause for those in need. As an added benefit, you and your loved one will both feel good about giving back to others.

Positive Moods and Low Depression Rates

With positive self-esteem and self-worth comes a genuinely more optimistic mood and outlook on life. Studies show that donating money to charity has been proven to have a positive impact on the brain. These effects are similar to activities people usually associate with joy and happiness such as eating, exercising, or affectionate gestures like giving someone a hug. Different chemical reactions can lead to an ongoing pattern of improved mental health and well-being. Keep this in mind the next time you’re having a bad day and need something uplifting to draw from. Donating can help better somebody else’s life and lead to a healthier you.

Longer Life Expectancy

As much joy as the holiday season brings, it also brings with it a great deal of stress. It’s no surprise that stress, depression, and anxiety can lead to a number health issues, headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure (which affects 30% of all Americans). One of the reasons why giving is good for you is that it acts as a way to de-stress your everyday life. With the simple act of charitable giving, not only are you assisting the world as a whole, but you receive the added benefit of a more relaxed holiday season. As an added bonus, some studies show that the gift of giving and unselfishness is an altruistic personality trait that is closely aligned with people who live longer.

Improving the World Community

We’re all trying to make the world a better place. The holidays are a time where we can appreciate the people and causes we hold dear. One person’s charitable giving can help the greater good of humanity, positively impacting more people than a giver may ever comprehend their donation could reach. In many parts of the world, others are not so fortunate. Charitable communities help foster a happier and healthier world by improving the quality of life for those around us as a whole.

Make a Difference

The gift of giving always comes full circle. Giving is receiving and generosity is contagious. So, the next time you’re thinking about treating yourself, instead remember the positive benefits on your health that donating to charity can bring about, as well as the positive change you can help bring about around the world. Why not start now? Get involved and join the cause. We believe every child around the world deserves a bright future. Make a donation to Save the Children today to help give a healthy start in life to the children who need it most this holiday season.

Nepal Earthquake: Aid Worker’s Firsthand Account from the Field

A firsthand account of the massive earthquake and Save the Children’s plans for how to help the children of Nepal.

Our voice in the field is Brad Kerner, part of Save the Children’s team on the ground responding to the deadly earthquake in Nepal. He was in Nepal when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck and is in Kathmandu assisting with our emergency relief efforts. Here he shares his firsthand account of the massive earthquake and Save the Children’s plans for how to help the children of Nepal. 

Brad Kerner_162443Nestled in the majestic Himalayan mountains, Nepal is near the top of the world and home to Mount Everest. I’ve always been in awe of the snowy peaks and fond of the gentle Nepalese children I’ve had the honor to work with over the years.

I was hiking with friends on the rim of a pristine lake. We were enjoying our day off, celebrating a colleague’s birthday. Then suddenly in the distance, we saw buildings start to shake. Then the rumbling sounds started. People ran out of buildings, but the shaking ground knocked them off their feet like game pieces on a chessboard that had been turned over. We felt the ground shake as the shockwave came crashing toward us. We huddled together, instinctively, for stability. I’ve never been more frightened in my life – I was paralyzed with fear and clung to my friends for dear life. We watched as buildings collapsed and houses came crashing down. The sounds of destruction and dogs barking filled our ears. The quake lasted little more than a minute – but it felt like an eternity.

15-NP-5_162433At first, we didn’t know the extent of the damage. Communications were down. My wife saw the news back in the states and was frantically trying to contact me. Thankfully, she reached me within a few hours.

We slept in a tent for the night and then headed back to Save the Children headquarters in Kathmandu, where our staff was readying our response to the disaster. What’s typically a 4-hour trip took more than 7 hours, but we were grateful that the roads were relatively intact. So many homes have been damaged and destroyed. The aftershocks make it unsafe to be inside. It is still cold here in the mountains, and it rained last night, but people are fearful to return to their homes and are sleeping outside in makeshift tents.   

Our teams have been working around the clock in response to the earthquake. The first phase includes the distribution of emergency supplies like tarps and other materials children and families need to survive. The next phase will also include protecting children who have been orphaned or separated from their families during this tragic disaster. As a public health professional, I have great concerns about the potential for the spread of disease in the coming days. With little or no access to clean water and proper sanitation, conditions are ripe for diarrheal diseases, such as cholera. These diseases are already the second leading cause of death for young children around the world. 

We are doing everything we can to keep children safe from harm and help families recover in the aftermath of the earthquake. We have more than 500 highly trained staff members in Nepal, many of whom have received intensive emergency response training. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from our donors that will enable us to give children what they need to survive this horrific disaster and recover in the days, weeks and months to come. On behalf of Nepal’s children and families, thank you.

==============================================================

More about Brad: Brad lives in Connecticut with his wife and children. They have two sons, ages 7 and 5, and a 10-month-old daughter. A veteran aid worker, Brad has been with Save the Children for a decade, and this is his 10th trip to Nepal. He had been working in Pokhara, Nepal on our health education programs – about 125 miles away from the capital city of Kathmandu – not far from the epicenter of the earthquake. Brad is highly regarded by his colleagues for his expertise and adored for his good humor. He is also one tough man – literally! When he’s not working or spending time with his family, he is an avid endurance athlete. He has competed in the Tough Mudder – a hardcore, 10-mile team obstacle challenge. 

How You Can Help 

Please give generously to the Nepal Earthquake Children’s Relief Fund to support Save the Children's responses to ongoing and urgent needs as a result of the earthquake. 

Cash for Work: A Lifeline for Syrian Refugees



Carter_blog_Syria_headshot

Cat Carter, Head of Humanitarian Information & Communications

Save the Children UK

September 24, 2013


Father of three Ahmad grins at
me from inside his tent. It’s a wide, toothy grin and I’m immediately charmed.
We shake hands and he invites us inside, settling us down on the floor with a
blanket before insisting we take coffee. It’s Ramadan, and I’m keenly aware that
it must be hard for fasting Muslims to watch as others drink (those observing
Ramadan don’t eat or drink anything all day, until sundown), but he insists and
eventually simply brings out a pot of coffee and pours it for us. He sits down
to explain why they eventually left Syria, after more than two years of
conflict.

“We
were surviving only day-to-day, and if I missed even one day of working because
of the fighting, I could not afford the food for my family. And that is what
happened in the end, the fighting meant we could not work, and food was too
expensive. We borrowed some money to pay for a little food, but that soon ran
out. We could not afford to survive – there was no life for us left in Syria.”

Ahmad
pauses for a moment, remembering Syria. We wait silently, sipping our hot,
strong coffee.

He
looks at his children and continues softly “it is the worst feeling as a
father, being unable to give your children food – worse even than the bullets
and shells.”

 

Carter_blog_Syria

Now
in Lebanon, it’s still a struggle, but things are a little better for Ahmad.
He’s been working with Save the Children’s Cash for Work programme, which
involved him cleaning up the camp. He was paid in cash (better than payment
with food vouchers because it gives the family the option to buy exactly what
they need). He used the cash for water and food for the whole family, and tells
me it lasted a long time. His gratitude is evident, but I’m embarrassed to
receive it – as a compromise I promise to pass on the thanks to the Save the
Children Cash for Work team responsible for setting up the project.

 

We
talk more generally about the situation in Syria, and what Ahmad thinks will
happen next. Working in the field, you’re often told to avoid contentious
topics like politics and religion.. But Ahmad isn’t interested in siding with
the opposition or the government.

 

He
shakes his head sadly at me and tell me that this whole war “is a war on
children – food, water, shells – they all kill the children first”. He tells me
that he just wants peace, so he can take his children home. 

 

Read Save the Children's report Hunger in a War Zone

Donate to help Syria's Children

Kelly Keeps Her Hopes Up After Hurricane Sandy

Penny CrumpPenny Crump, Web Writer/Editor

New Jersey, USA

November 3, 2012



“I forgot Rosy!” Kelly said, with worry in her voice. Rosy was left behind when Kelly and her family evacuated due to Hurricane Sandy. Rosy is Kelly’s oldest and dearest friend – her stuffed monkey.

I met Kelly at our Child-Friendly space at a shelter in New Jersey. Save the Children provides a safe place for kids to play, read and cope with the aftermath of the ‘superstorm’. It can be scary for kids in disaster shelters, surrounded by strangers and going without the comforts of home.

Kelly and her family have been in shelters since Sunday night when Hurricane Sandy was on a path that would soon devastate their community in New Jersey.

Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.


Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.
Photo Credit: Penny Crump / Save the Children.


Kelly is in third grade and looks forward to seeing her school friends and returning to art class. One of the things she likes at the shelter is that there are art supplies and other activities for kids. Kelly also liked the books and enjoyed a “tea party” with some of her little playmates.

Kelly keeps a watchful eye on her little brothers, Kevin and Kenny. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and you can tell by how patient she is with them that she’ll be a great caregiver someday. She really appreciated the toys for her brothers – dinosaurs and wild beasts. There were also fun games for older kids, as well as books. Kelly likes mystery novels best, they help keep her mind off a very difficult situation.

“I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to go home” she tells me. She’s concerned about the apartment where her family lives as it’s in a low-lying, distressed community. “The first thing I am going to do when I get home is check on Rosy.”

Kids like Kelly need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief from your mobile phone. When you receive a text message, reply YES. (Standard text messaging rates apply.) Read the fine print.

Cyber Monday Gift Ideas

Dhheadshot Dave Hartman, Save the Children, Internet Marketing and Communications Specialist

Westport, CT

Friday, November 26, 2010

 In 2005 some cooky marketing wiz came up with the idea that by combining two American staples, shopping and the internet, people could avoid the torturous, chaotic Black Friday experience, cut down on emissions (since you don’t have to drive anywhere!) and still get great bargains for the holidays. We call this wonderful day, Cyber Monday. 

Last year on Cyber Monday consumers spent nearly $890 million dollars online.

Well here at Save the Children we can’t help but imagine the difference we could make if just a fraction of that money was spent on responsible, meaningful holiday gifts.

On Cyber Monday (or anytime between now and the end of the year) we encourage you to forfeit the commuting and the crowds and go green with a gift from the Save the Children Gift Catalog.

Here are a bunch of great eco-themed gifts that people of all ages are sure to love! 

Sheep

Cute cuddly animals like sheep, goats and cows are a valuable source of food and protein-rich dairy AND much-need source of income

 

Corn-credit needed

Veggie gardens grow food AND healthy bodies & minds. Help another garden grow this holiday season

 

Water pump

One billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water. Your gift to our Clean Water Fund helps provide safe, clean, life-giving water to children families who currently have access to life’s most vital resource.

Still unsure? Check out the catalog or donate to our Global Action Fund

Happy Shopping!