Several friends sent me this interesting piece on how fiction readers are different. A short excerpt:
It may sound hooey hooey, but it's true: Fiction readers make great friends as they tend to be more aware of others' emotions...Literary fiction [rather than popular fiction] enhanced participants' empathy because they had to work harder at fleshing out the characters. The process of trying to understand what those characters are feelings and the motives behind them is the same in our relationships with other people.So what works of fiction have you read that you feel have enhanced your empathy?
Continuing my efforts from last week to highlight some worthy organizations during this season of giving, I have to mention SpokaneFAVS.
The mission statement sums it up nicely: "SpokaneFAVS provides non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ethics in the Inland Northwest. We promote dialogue through online journalism and community engagement opportunities." Tracy, the Executive Director, and my sister Meredith, the Board President, put together this video for #GivingTuesday.
I believe in what SpokaneFAVS is and does. It promotes education and dialogue and community. My life has been enriched and my perspective widened by the intelligent, compassionate, interesting people I've met through SpokaneFAVS.
I write for SpokaneFAVS, I volunteer for SpokaneFAVS, and I donate to SpokaneFAVS. These conversations and relationships are important for our community and I want to see them continue. Will you help?
LDS Charities is the humanitarian arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I'm proud that my church is involved in doing good around the world, partnering with other great organizations like the Red Cross, International Relief and Development, Catholic Relief Services, and Islamic Relief. Whether it's providing wheelchairs for disabled individuals, helping a community build a well so they have access to clean water, training medical professionals in neo-natal resuscitation, or responding to a natural disaster, these projects change and improve lives literally across the globe.
And what's really cool - overhead costs are covered by the Church, so 100% of your donation - every single penny - goes directly to support those in need. There aren't a whole lot of charities that can claim that.
Food banks provide the necessities of life to people in some of the most vulnerable situations. Every time my kids come home from school with a flyer announcing a food drive, I dutifully send cans of tuna or beans or peas or olives in their backpacks the next day, happy to share some of what we have with those who have less.
Our local food bank here is Second Harvest. I took my group of Laurels (young women ages 16 and 17) to volunteer there once a year ago and we processed something like 14,000 pounds of apples in a couple hours. They have tons of opportunities for volunteers and they offer regular "family nights" where families can sign up to serve together.
A few weeks ago, I happened to be over on the other side of the state and had the chance to help out for several hours at the Bonney Lake Food Bank with a friend. We sorted donations into categories to be shelved later and turned some chaos into order, ready and waiting for people to help. It felt really good to actively participate in something I knew would materially help children and families.
So if you're looking for a way to make a difference in your area, research your local food bank, the place people in your community can go when they are hungry. Ask what they are most in need of, what foods they can't accept, and when you can volunteer, and then act on that knowledge.