DEAR HARRIETTE: I have contributed to a number of charities over the years. I feel good about that, because I want to support causes that I believe in. But I am uncertain as to what I can give right now that I have been laid off from my job. I am single, and I live on my own. I have no idea when I will get another job. I feel horrible that I cannot be generous right now, but I worry that if I continue to pledge to the 10 charities that I normally give money to that I won’t have enough for myself. What should I do? -- Dry Well
DEAR DRY WELL: Your generosity over the years counts for a lot. Whenever you have been able to give, you have done so. During this period, many people are finding it challenging to extend their generosity to charity when they find themselves lacking in their own lives. Striking a balance is what may give you comfort. Rather than eliminating all of your charities, consider choosing one that you continue to support, for now, as you re-establish personal stability. You may want to lower the amount you give, but if you give something, this may ease the emotional burden that you are feeling.
You might also look at the charities’ websites to learn what their essential needs are during this time. As you build more resources, give to specific efforts. Also, look to see if you can give something other than financial resources. Can you volunteer your time to help a charity? Can you donate some of your possessions for their benefit? Get creative.