“Give of yourself, give as much as you can! And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!… Give and you shall receive, much more than you would have ever thought possible. Give, give again and again… No one has ever become poor from giving.” — Anne Frank
Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma shares what giving means to him.
Giving means happiness to me.
When I give generously, I am overcome with a feeling of wellbeing. And it’s not only spiritual, but also physical, psychological and emotional. Not only does the brain produce all kinds of feel-good substances when we are generous, but scientific studies with hundreds of participants have definitively found that the most giving periods of their lives were also their happiest times.
Imagine how much this happiness is intensified when supporting a great cause – when we have saved a starving child from certain death, or saved many by supplying clean water to an entire village; when we have provided medicines to children that would die needlessly without them.
And I am not alone in this feeling of exuberance. So many times when I call or visit our generous donors to thank them for their gifts to the poor, they quickly turn the tables on me and thank Food For The Poor for giving them the opportunity of sharing their good fortune with others. Their excitement is palpable.
The destitute poor also understand this well. Six days after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, I met two women at one of the larger tent cities that blanketed the capital at that time. They had both lost their infants in that horrific event. Yet, in the midst of their suffering and pain, they both volunteered to breastfeed the infants that had lost their mothers. Why? Because in that terrible time of suffering, giving the only thing they had to give afforded them a sense of purpose and comfort.
That year we built thousands of homes in Haiti for the many who were left homeless by the earthquake that people of Haiti named “Gudu gudu” in Creole. One woman living in severely bad conditions asked us not to build for her as yet, as she knew someone who lived nearby whose condition was more desperate than hers. She took us to meet them and she was correct. Why would she sacrifice her own comfort in a time of extreme suffering of her own? Because giving affirmed her innate goodness – it made her feel decent, loving, compassionate and caring… it made her happy!