Dig deep and be generous even on a limited budget

A generous spirit will find ways to delight those around them in a variety of ways regardless of material resources. Whether it is providing a meal, digging a garden plot or babysitting for a weary young couple, a generous gift from the heart is priceless.

Gifts of food

A simple, delicious and inexpensive meal can be delivered to a shut-in or a young frazzled mother with just a little frugal shopping and planning. Noodles, rice, beans and pasta are inexpensive and are a good beginning for casseroles and soups. Shop your grocery store for marked down meat and use it right away to add protein to a one-dish meal or freeze it for a future meal. Cook in bulk and fill aluminum pans purchased from a discount store or dollar store. Freeze several meals to have on hand for emergency giving or unexpected guests. Shop the sales and use coupons to stock your pantry with low cost canned goods that can be used in future meals.

Gifts for the poor and homeless

Shop thrift stores on sale days. Thrift stores usually have days when certain parts of their inventory are marked down significantly. Stock up on coats, hats, gloves, socks and blankets to distribute to the homeless during the winter. You may take these items to your local shelters or hand them out during the daylight hours if you know where homeless people tend to congregate. Going into some neighborhoods can be dangerous so be wise and practice discernment.

Part of giving to the poor is knowing who they are. Most inner-city and suburban towns have poor neighborhoods. You may find out more about the needs of people in these areas by visiting the local church or outreach center. Again, shopping for goods in a thrift store is one way to provide for people who may not even have a car to get to the thrift store. Shop for clean items in good repair. If you can find out specific needs and shop for specific families, so much the better.

Gift of time and talent

There are countless ways to generously offer your time and talent. Teach a younger man or woman to sew, cook, garden, make repairs to their car or home or share your knowledge as a mentor. You may set a formal regular time to meet with someone for the purpose of mentoring but it may also be a casual encounter.

If you have skill in a particular area such as sewing, you can make clothing and household décor for a family or a young person just getting their first apartment.

Solicit donations of goods or start your own charity

While you may not be able to provide from your own resources, many businesses are quick to do so if it gives them some value in return. Consider a fundraiser in which you solicit donations of supplies and products from local businesses to meet the needs of a local neighborhood that has fallen into a downward spiral.

Start your own charitable endeavor for a special cause. If there is something near and dear to your heart, begin to think of ways that you can make a product and donate the proceeds from sales to support the cause.

Generosity begins with a charitable heart and can easily be implemented with a little ingenuity and hard work. Giving your time and talent is a priceless gift of generosity of spirit.