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Bankole: Giving, season’s ultimate character test

Bankole Thompson
The Detroit News

Mother Teresa once said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

So no one can give a cogent excuse about not helping a neighbor in need during this holiday season or extending a hand to support someone in dire straits.

The season should not only be a time to spend with family and friends but also to remember and support those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged among us.

It is a season to give to those children who wake up every day in homeless shelters waiting for someone to drop them a meal.

It is a season to reach out and support women who have taken refuge in domestic violence shelters as they try to recover from physical and emotional trauma.

It is a time to put the weight of our compassion behind such organizations as Alternative for Girls, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Easter Seals, Salvation Army, Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Goodwill Industries, among others. These organizations are examples of the collective commitment to the most needy among us.

Despite our personal challenges and some anxieties in the wake of the presidential election, we should remain committed to putting a smile on others’ faces during the holiday season.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, one thing we can all agree on is using this giving season to demonstrate our belief in our common humanity.

Because giving is a reflection of our character and worldview. People donate to causes that they seriously believe in or because they were raised into believing that certain causes are important and must be supported.

Meet Kurt David, a former basketball player who now helps athletes transitioning from professional sports to other endeavors.

“I’ve been very fortunate and raised to give back especially to those less fortunate,” David said.

David, who supports several groups devoted to social change including the Power Company Kids Club, Another Way Pregnancy Center, DRMM and others, said the community should play a larger role in helping the needy.

“Social transformation should not be driven, or relied upon, from our government but primarily driven as part of our communities, churches and corporate enterprise,” David said. “There has been a shift in corporate giving and ‘cause marketing’ appears to help with this shift. Support of the organizations, churches and companies that support charities engaged in social change is imperative in continuing the needed support.”

This season is regarded in the nonprofit community as the golden season for generating funds and other resources toward worthy causes.

Vickie Winn, director of public relations at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, said people are hurting this season and need urgent help.

“People should feel compelled to give all year around not just during this holiday season. At United Way, we receive thousands of calls year-round for assistance and the calls increase during the holiday times for gifts, food and all sorts of services,” Winn said. “The need is great all year-round.”

Bankole Thompson is the host of “Redline with Bankole Thompson” on Super Station 910AM weekdays at noon. His column appears Mondays and Thursdays.

Twitter: @bankieT