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Culture of giving promotes impact, generosity

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- As we close this quarter's Capital Wingman Culture theme "Culture of Giving," it's a perfect time to reflect on the lives impacted through your generosity. One of the great things about living in the National Capital Region is that it's a target-rich environment for helping those in need. Whether it's donating your money, used goods, or even time, one of the greatest thing about participating in a "Culture of Giving" is the great feelings and sense of pride for helping or giving to those in need.

Donating money is one if the easiest ways to give and make a difference is someone else's life. The best way to directly impact your fellow Airmen in your own back yard is to donate to Air Force Aid, Air Force Assistance Fund, or the Combined Federal Campaign. There are also many other outside agencies that are a great resource, such as the American Red Cross, United Service Organization, or the Wounded Warrior Foundation. These are just a few outstanding ways you can spend money on others in need if your budget can afford it.

Another way to give without spending money is to donate your used goods. Maybe you are spring cleaning or just upgrading your furniture. If your stuff is still in good shape, you can donate it to the Airmen's Attic. You would be surprised how much this makes a difference in a young family's life. All items at the attic are free to E-5s and below. There also many cancer research agencies that will take donated automobiles or boats that will be auctioned off to raise funds for their research. Food drives such as the Feds Feed Families program is another example of donating goods to make a difference.

Finally, it's my opinion that the biggest way to make an impact is to donate your time. It's very heartwarming and rewarding to volunteer for things like USO care-package stuffing parties; helping repair or build homes for the needy through Habitat for Humanity; or even working your unit's booster club car wash. I personally volunteer for an agency called Cause, running a video checkout stand for troops recovering from their war wounds. Its little things that make a big difference for those who can use a hand. Just showing that you care goes a long way.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can support a "Culture of Giving" as we approach the holiday season. We can all make a difference, so the next time you see e-mails about volunteer opportunities don't be so quick to delete them. Give it some thought and pitch in if you can... you'll be glad you did!