Friday, Apr. 12, 2024

The Art Of Giving

As the holiday season approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about the economy (as I’m sure many people are doing). Many people are worried about finding the money to spend on presents, plane tickets to visit family and friends, or even a holiday dinner.
   
As a horse owner, I know that I’m fortunate. I can afford to feed my horse and keep him warm in the winter, which is something I’m thankful for each day.
   

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As the holiday season approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about the economy (as I’m sure many people are doing). Many people are worried about finding the money to spend on presents, plane tickets to visit family and friends, or even a holiday dinner.
   
As a horse owner, I know that I’m fortunate. I can afford to feed my horse and keep him warm in the winter, which is something I’m thankful for each day.
   
Unfortunately, many people in our country (and around the world) cannot say the same about their families. Now is the time to remember how blessed we are and give back to those who are not. It’s important to know that although you might not have extra cash to give, your time, love and support can be just as valuable.
   
There are soup kitchens in every state that could use your help. If you don’t have the time to work in the kitchen, you could start a canned food drive at your place of work, asking co-workers and friends to bring in a few cans each. Search online to find the nearest shelter or kitchen where you can drop off the food. There is a great website called The Volunteer Family (www.thevolunteerfamily.org) that gives suggestions on how to help the homeless, the sick, the elderly, animals and even the environment.
   
While you’re busy decorating your house, go through your closets and pull out all the clothes you can’t remember wearing in the past year or so. Salvation Army and Goodwill always take donations. Many churches and synagogues also run clothing drives during the holiday season.
   
In our own equestrian world, think about the rescue facility owners around the country who are worried about buying round bales or winter blankets for the numerous horses they’ve taken in.
   
Almost all rescue facilities are looking for volunteers. Even if it’s only for a few extra hours a week, your love can go a long way. Many places are asking for volunteers to help groom the horses, bring them carrots and give them some extra TLC. Lots of facilities are asking for business help: they need marketing advice or help designing their website. Farriers and vets can donate their services and medical advice. Any rescue foundation will certainly let you know how you can help.
   
Most rescues will accept new and gently used blankets, turnout rugs, halters and leg wraps. Maybe if your equine friend receives a new blanket for the holiday season you could donate his old one to a pony in need. Even if you don’t know of a rescue foundation near your home you can call the local humane society, as they will sometimes accept equine supplies.
   
And while you’re calling them, don’t forget about all the dogs and cats and other critters who might be cold and lonely! While I was home for Thanksgiving break I took my old chinchilla cage down to the humane society along with some water bottles and toys that I didn’t need anymore, and they were thrilled to have the donation.
   
Most importantly, remember that the art of giving isn’t necessarily about how much you spend but the time and thought that you put into the gift. Three hours grooming rescue ponies can be just as rewarding for them as sending in a check. This is the time to remember the true spirit of the holidays.

Megan Martin, Editorial Intern

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