The Case For Charity And How To Give It

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
The Christmas season is the season of giving. But what does that look like for families who are in crisis, or families who just need a helping hand? There's a right way and a wrong way to help. Here is how you give well...

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” ~ Leviticus 25:35-37

Four years ago, my husband lost his job. I was a stay at home mom and he was a pastor. We were in the thick of raising our youngest six children, and we were exhausted. Our children have a range of special needs including learning disabilities, cognitive delays, medical needs and exposure to childhood trauma.

I had just returned home from dropping my three youngest at the elementary school when I got the call. I was standing on the back porch unloading groceries when I noticed that it was Mike calling. I quickly set down the jug of milk and answered. He said, “I have bad news but it’s going to be ok. I lost my job this morning.” I sank to my knees, “What?” I asked again with a sob. “But, we won’t have health insurance, Jay has a hematologist appointment in December and it costs $500 out of pocket just to walk into that place!” I felt myself getting hysterical. “We still have six kids at home! Oh no, what are we going to do?” I caught myself before I completely melted down and remembered to check on him, “I’m sorry, how are you?” He sighed, “Angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed, but I think we’re going to be ok. I really do.” We talked a little longer and we both agreed that we would use our savings and try for one year to build our hobby writing into a business. After some quick calculations we knew that if we were careful we could sustain our family for one year. 

The next few months were a blur of adjustment. I went back to work part time, Mike immersed himself into writing and we all learned to be mindful of our finances. As winter approached, we sorted our winter coats and realized we were short a few (can you believe the kids had the nerve to keep growing without checking the bank account first?!) As I sat amongst winter coats, hats and gloves, taking inventory of what we needed to buy, I saw a 15 passenger van pull up toward the house. I did a double take before realizing it was a friend of ours from our children’s theater group. She has seven kids, and we have eight so we had become instant friends. I opened the door as she reached the front step. She said, “I hope you don’t mind, I was on my way to Goodwill and decided to stop here first, do you have any need for winter coats?” I nearly fell over with laughter. The winter coats she dropped by were exactly what we were missing. I wasn’t embarrassed, I didn’t feel like a charity case, I just felt loved. 

A few months later, my daughter’s therapist pulled me aside and asked if I would be interested in receiving presents from an organization they worked with at the holidays. This time I did start to cry. We were still doing ok and our bank account was holding out but extras like Christmas presents were feeling a little out of reach. I was embarrassed as I wiped a tear and told her yes. We set up an appointment to go over items the kids might like, favorite colors and sizes. A few weeks later, we arrived at the office to pick the gifts up. The team of people who purchased, sorted and wrapped them were surprisingly quiet. They shook my hand, looked me in the eye and helped me carry packages to the car. Just as I was about to close the door, an older gentleman said, “Wait, there’s one more,” then slipped a package through the hatchback and I could see “Mike and Kristin” printed on the tag. I raised my eyebrow in surprise. “We heard you might need that,” then he smiled and shook my hand again then returned to the building. I left the parking lot and had barely rounded the corner when I burst into tears. It wasn’t the generosity that overwhelmed me, it was the dignity and respect. The givers had not taken credit or waited for praise. They gave me something to give my children and allowed me to be the hero of the story. I wasn’t embarrassed, I didn’t feel like a charity case, I truly felt loved. 

I have learned a lot about charity from being on the receiving end of it. Here is some advice I have for others who want to help at the holidays. 

  1. Maintain Dignity – Do not gush all over, photograph or record the recipient. Do not talk down to the person you are trying to help. Picture yourself in their shoes and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Look the person in the eye, shake their hand, introduce yourself and call them by name. 
  2. Giving is about the recipient not the giver – If it were you, how would you want someone to help? If they are going through a hard time, let them be there hero for a moment. If you are working in a food pantry, allow participants to carry their groceries in regular brown paper sacks. If you are purchasing presents, allow the recipient to wrap them or label them for their own children with their own handwriting. Everything you do for others should be done in secret. 
  3. No one wants to be a charity case – Receiving charity somehow feels like an admission that we have failed. Give to others in a way that allows the recipient to feel respected, honored and dignified. 

Have you been the recipient of someone’s charity? How did you feel? Have you been the giver? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

This post originally appeared in Kristin’s column on Christian Mommy. Read the original post here.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.