Deciding to give your small change to charity is a great way to kickstart or boost your charitable giving.
Small change may seem like only a drop in the ocean, but as it has been pointed out, an ocean is made up of many drops, and when many people all do the same simple thing, such as the 5p rule (ie coins worth 5p or under go to charity) it can really mount up. In my village quite a lot of people keep collection boxes for The Children’s Society, and every year they hand them in and all that small change is counted. I think last time my own box total was about £14 – not hugely impressive – but I was astonished to read in the village magazine that all the boxes together that year, just from our village, had raised a whopping £1500!
That’s one good reason already for adopting the 5p rule, but there’s another reason, too.
Lent is a great time for learning to sit more lightly to material things, our possessions and our money – the things that make this life good, but don’t last for ever. In preparation for our Big Move in the summer (we’re leaving the country, for a year!) we’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff, and it’s been strangely liberating to consider what we actually need, and what we can quite happily live without. The process has made me look at the things I own in a different light, and I find that the things I really do value, I appreciate all the more, and when I consider the things that are just ‘there’, I now find I am happier to distribute them (to friends, to charity shops etc). Admittedly, is a sad reality for increasing numbers of people in the UK, that 1p, 2p and 5p coins are, genuinely making the difference between being able to afford to eat properly or not. But for those of us for whom those smaller coins are not a matter of life and death, we probably don’t value them all that much. We may own them, we may have earned them, but they should be really easy to let go of and give away. And as I know from my own life at the moment, stripping down the stuff we own and the clutter around us (and even small change can feel like clutter) can be immensely liberating.
Today’s task is about learning to give away freely that which we own, but do not really value. It’s a good thing to do in itself, and helps us sit more lightly to the things we own. But it’s also a good step towards the much harder challenge of giving away and sharing that which we really do value and depend on.