Justifying Charitable Work

photo credit: cseeman via photopincc

I volunteer at the local animal shelter. I foster kittens until they’re ready for adoption. They come to me sick and malnourished. My family and I nurse the sick, and socialize the healthy kittens. A foster kitten is friendlier and more playful than a scared stray, and more likely to get adopted.

Since we started fostering last year we’ve provided a temporary home for 36 kittens. Five have died due to illness. Of the ones who survived, the majority were adopted, so I guess we’re socializing them correctly.

People Are Suffering . . .

When people learn I volunteer to help animals, I get one of two reactions. The most common response, I’m glad to say, is positive. Most people think it’s great, and think fostering kittens sounds like fun (which it is, until you hold a sick kitten in your lap and realize she’s not going to make it).

A small but vocal group makes harsh judgments. They announce my time spent as a shelter volunteer could be put to better use by helping people. They point out I could spend time at a senior’s hospice, or help the food bank, or support the local cocaine addiction support group. They dismiss my work at the animal shelter because “there’s more important work to do.”

I’ll admit the accusation stings. I donate to worthy causes and support the local food bank when I can, so I’m not just playing with kittens. Yes, the time spent at the animal shelter could be spent helping other people. For a long time I tried to justify my animal volunteer work, to somehow prove I was doing good work. I suppose that counts as vanity. I was concerned with what this handful of people, many of whom I only see occasionally, thought of me.

. . . And People are Helping

Finally, God sent me a message through my little brother’s homework. He had to do a report on the world population. The number is staggering: 7 billion people call this planet home. I sat for a while considering the mass of humanity and had a sudden realization.

I realized then those people who criticized me for how I spent my time were wrong. With 7 billion of us on the planet, there are enough of us to handle all charities and volunteer positions, big and small. I also realized I’m only one person.

I understand now that, for whatever reason, God made an animal-lover when he made me, and that was as it should be. He made others who enjoy working with the homeless, or running food banks, or researching cures for malaria. He made me to help animals.

I’m not perfect though. Now, if someone suggests I could volunteer for more worthwhile goals I look at him sweetly, and gently ask “Perhaps I could volunteer with the organization you help.”

Turns out, my accusers usually don’t volunteer at all.

Michelle is a blogger and feelancer. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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2 Responses to Justifying Charitable Work

  1. God bless you for helping animals and following the call God has placed in you. We are each created different. This means we all have certain area's God wants us to serve. We can't all do the same jobs.

  2. Thanks, Michelle, for that post. You make a fantastic point!


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