I’m Struggling – How Can I Help You?

USA Today reports that companies across the country are slashing bonuses, severance packages and pay raises.  40% of surveyed companies plan to reduce the amount allotted for raises in 09 and 62% say they will be giving smaller bonuses than last year.  The number of companies holding holiday parties is the lowest in reportable history.  American Express just canceled its annual year-end bash.  Companies that normally avoid any layoffs are now compiling lists of who will be let go.  Last Friday Focus on the Family announced they are eliminating 202 jobs, the biggest layoff in their history. 

But here’s the unexpected twist.  Many charities are seeing an increase in generosity.  In Seattle, Boeing Co. employees tripled their cash donations this year to Northwest Harvest, operator of Washington’s largest food bank. And every week, Northwest Harvest spokeswoman Claire Acey says, companies are calling to say their employees have decided to skip their holiday party and buy food for the hungry instead.  History shows that the stock market has a relatively small impact on charitable giving.  World Vision is predicting that 2008 could actually be a better-than-usual Christmas for the nation’s charitable organizations.

Justin Greeves, VP of Harris Interactive (a giving tracking organization) says that “in a year when people are having trouble meeting basic needs, giving by individuals usually increases.”   Companies decide that instead of a lavish party, they’ll help those in need.  Families decide that instead of more electronic toys, they’ll group their funds and give a charitable gift to another family in where perhaps there has been a job loss. 

It appears that if we have too much, we become greedy and hoarders.  If we are struggling ourselves, we seem to be more willing to share what little we do have.  Maybe this will be a good year after all.

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15 Responses to “I’m Struggling – How Can I Help You?”

  1. Lauren Brasile Says:

    I told my family that we would be buying gifts for the adopted family at church and not ourselves. We need nothing but a good meal and fellowship. My hubby has been out of state for work since January. There is no work in Michigan! Thankfully, I have a good JOB… not the work I love… but the work that pays the bills. I am working toward the work I love, so I can only imagine what next year will bring!

  2. Bill Says:

    The Salvation Army Angel tree wishes were all accounted for within a few hours at my company. We’re in the midst of lay-offs but the best is coming out of people’s hearts.

  3. Donna K. Says:

    I work for an education service center in Texas. Rather than a gift exchange and gorging ourselves on food we don’t need this year, we are giving money to our local food bank and spending the two hours we would have used to “party” at the office to go TO the food bank and fill boxes for those in need. We also end up with a lot of extra children’s books stored up after workshops, etc. so those are going in the boxes for families with children.

  4. Jay Peroni Says:

    Dan, this is a very timely post! I have been thinking about ways to help those who really need help this Christmas. Even though we are in tough economic times, my family is still being blessed beyond belief. Our family decided to scale back gift-giving and use the money toward life-changing ministries. I wrote about this on my blog:

    http://www.jayperoni.com/2008/11/advent-conspiracy-2-ways-to-ch.php

    Though times are tough, we live in the most abundant nation in the world. I want to do my part to help those less fortunate all around the world.

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of The Faith-Based Millionaire
    http://www.jayperoni.com

    Look me up on 48days.net: (Dan Miller’s awesome new social network)

    http://www.48days.net/profile/JayPeroni

  5. David Says:

    In response to the economic tough times, our church decided to focus on “Being the Church … Hope in Tough Times”. This past Sunday we raised over $40,000 in a special contribution designated for families in need, both within our congregation and the surrounding community. God gives hope.

  6. edwincrozier Says:

    This is awesome. As a minister this confirms what I have long said about contributions. When people see the real need, they give. When they just think we are commanding giving just to give they resent it.

    I think it will be the same for secular world. If the workers only see giving as something the company is asking for just to fill a bubble on a board or just to look good in front of the other branches, the coffers run dry. Present the need and make it real, wallets open.

    In times like this, we see our own hurt and recognize that many hurt worse.

  7. Jack Strassner Says:

    In your Article ” I’m Struggling, How Can I help You” you mention an unexpected twist that relates to when people have less they seem to give more. Well, I lost my 6 figure salary, my three thousand square foot home in the country in South Carolina, my wife of nineteen years ran away with another man and I found myself up to my neck in over a half a million dollars of debt! After coming close to doing myself in, something inside told me to hang in there and give life one more try which I have done. Now, three years later, here I am, semi retired and on Social Security. I was wiped out financially, but now, at least everything I have is not owned by the bank or finance company. I have learned through being poor to be frugal and how to be wise with the little money I now have. I give thanks to God for having brought me to this point for now, looking back I realize that everything that happaned to me in 2005 was a blessing in disguise. In my poverty I learned what being truly rich really is. I have met a great woman who knows what it is to truly love some one. Now, I am truly wealthy. At 64 years of age I can say that life gives you more than one or two chances to be successful!! Now is that a strange twist??

  8. GreatChristianMovies.com Says:

    That’s true – sometimes we need some struggles ourselves to see the needs.

  9. Lisa C. Says:

    Dan,I enjoy the work you do! Thanks so much for being obedient to God. In my home we have actually increased our giving despite having suffered job loss earlier this year and being a single parent whose ex spouse does not contribute financially. The reason we are able to do this is because of all of the examples of God being faithful to his people during the most dire of circumstances (ie recessions)in times past. Joseph and the Israelites, Moses as the Israelites left for the promised land, the numerous captivities of the Israelites. The list goes on. There is always warning, protection, and provision given by God to his children. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Therefore, this recession and God’s corresponding behaviors, will not be any different than other difficult in humanity. The principles of seed, time, and harvest still apply. Those who activate these timeless truths will receive a harvest during this time of lack. To all of you I say remember the words in Romans 8:28 ” And we know that in all things GOd works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” There is no recession in God’s kingdom!

  10. Harold Says:

    That’s true – sometimes we need some struggles ourselves to see the needs.

  11. Dale Says:

    I find it interesting that people have to have problems themselves before they realize the needs in others.

    The down size is to develop a poverty mentality where you believe that God is teaching you something. He teaches you in good and bad, that does not mean that He is the source of the bad – He sure is the source of the good.

    The upside is that people learn to love one another and by reaching out to help others in need they provide the avenue for God to bless them.

    In good times or in bad we should serve one another. Why do we have to have sickness or lack before we start believing for health or prosperity? Both come through Jesus. When we get our minds focused on the problems it is very hard to ‘press through’ to the good. I suppose the problem helps us turn to the solution – God! ——– Incidently, if you don’t take your focus off God when you have things or lack things and you keep believing for the best then you know that you really trust God.

    My God is a God of abundance of every good thing – the challenges come because we live in a screwed up world. With God’s help we can take some of the screws off. Trust God and love one another as well as God and you will always win eventually. Patience — have faith!

  12. Ronald Tapp Says:

    With all the economic and political upheaval, God is still at work taking care of those who claim His name and even those who reject Him. How wonderful to see Him in control during the Christmas time when we have commercialized His son’s special time so much. Praise God. Wake up Americans, money is not our answer, God is.

  13. Ronald Tapp Says:

    ack Strassner, you have lived where few have even ventured. You know God LIVES. He too, is bringing me thru those dark times. I have not made it financially yet, but He has sent me a wonderful woman who loves me in the way God meant for love to be. I am so blessed. An aside, I recently moved to Longs, SC. Let’s go fishing- for flounder and for men.

  14. barb tapp Says:

    I stand in agreement with my husband about who we are to be and whom we are to serve. Even in the most trying of times and “desert seasons”, God is still sitting on the throne and is He is still GOD. Look up and forward to what He would have you to do. I am blessed with many things and very few of them have any financial connection. Thank you Lord for this forum and for those it brings together. Thank you also for the guidance and wisdom you allow us to receive from our brothers and sisters. Shalom!

  15. positive parenting Says:

    Excellently written post, if only all bloggers provided this level of high-level quality content the internet would be a great deal better place. Please keep it up! Thanks.

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