When you were a kid and didn’t eat everything on your plate, did your parents ever say, “Eat your food. Just think of all those starving orphans in Africa”? Mine occasionally did, and my smart-aleck response always was, “Well, if they were here, I’d give them this food. But they’re not here, are they?” (Disclaimer: Yes, I know not all kids in Africa are orphans or starving, but that’s a real thing American parents said ALL THE TIME when I was a kid in the 1980s.)
Flash forward to today, and there really is a way to give your food to starving kids in Africa, Asia, North America, and other regions of the world. No, I’m not talking about the actual food you leave on your plate at the Outback Steakhouse or your great-aunt’s questionable JELL-O “salad” at Christmas, but the food you consciously choose not to even buy in order that you can feed a child somewhere else.
A few years ago, I was working on a writing project with Candace Cameron Bure, and she mentioned an organization she supports called Skip1.org. When she told me more about it, I was intrigued by the charity’s focus. Their motto is:
“Skip something. Feed a child.”
What they ask is that you skip a meal out, your morning coffee, that new pair of shoes, the latest gadget or toy, or even a trip to your favorite theme park. Then you donate that money to them so they can “help solve world hunger, one Skip at a time.” What a novel concept!
Normally we think about giving away the things we don’t want. I know I do. Clothes I haven’t worn in five years and never really liked anyway? Give them to the local clothes closet. Those cans of chicken noodle soup in the back, dusty corner of the cabinet? Donate them to the church’s food pantry. The ugly set of dishes I got free with my new couch? Offer them to a college-aged cousin who’s setting up house for the first time.
None of those things are bad, and recycling is great. I’m not definitively suggesting any of us should stop that. (Though some of those things we do to help aren’t always the best choice, which I will get into in a future post.) But those are easy things to do. It’s not quite the same as actually sacrificing something you want in order to make someone else’s life better.
How often do I actually sacrifice anything when I give? Honestly, not very often. Do I give to my church? Yes. Do I support non-profits? Yes. Do I sponsor a child in Ecuador? Yes. But that’s really nothing to brag about when I’m giving out of my excess.
It makes me think of the Bible story we call “The Widow’s Mite.”
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:1-4, ESV).
I’m not saying that passing up that chai tea latte I’m longing for is the equivalent of the widow giving everything she had. But I do think that sometimes giving up what I want in order to give someone else what they need is a good thing for my soul.
Skip1 actually asks you to not give out of your excess. And they don’t want you to stop giving to another organization in order to give to them. They simply want you to consciously think about giving up something you want in order to feed a child.
There are so many things to love about this organization.
First, 100% of donations from the public go directly to the work they do, not to administration. That’s pretty impressive.
Second, they’re not asking you to give much. Here’s what their website says: “We understand there are plenty of people who want to help make the world a better place. But many have limited resources and often feel they can’t do much. Skip1 was developed as the solution for these people. The work we do, especially in third world countries, doesn’t take a lot of money.”
The homepage of their website actually shows some recent donations and what the person skipped. At this moment, there’s a guy who donated $3 because he skipped coffee. A lady skipped a $15 lunch at work. Someone else skipped a $10 item. And there are also bigger donations, like a woman who skipped $100 on “frivolous spending.”
I think many of us can relate to that last one. How much money do I waste on frivolous items? In the past week, I can think of at least $30 I spent on food and Amazon purchases that were completely unnecessary. And let me tell you, if I’d gone to Target during the past week, that number would easily be doubled.
Third, Skip1 is a great way for us to tangibly model sacrifice to children. It provides a perfect introduction to talking about what sacrifice is and why we do it. And kids can get involved too. They can skip something—a new toy, a trip to the trampoline park, the latest app. I believe “skipping” is good for their souls too.
Honestly, there’s nothing I don’t love about Skip1.org.
And now, since I’ve talked so much about it, I think I need to skip something this week. I’m hosting an Olympics Opening Ceremonies party tomorrow night, and I was planning on going to the dollar store and buying some USA decor. But now I’m going to skip that and give the money to Skip1 instead. I know it’s a little thing, but that’s what Skip1 is all about.
In fact, I feel like Skip1’s purpose encapsulates this quote from Mother Teresa:
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
So skip something, and feed a child.
What can you skip this week? Or how do you see yourself using Skip1.org to influence the children in your life and help them skip something? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Want to discover more great ways to get the kids in your life thinking about giving and serving others? It’s full of easy ways kids can serve others, an in-depth guide to putting together your own community service project, and a list of organizations that allow kids to get involved with serving and giving. Click here to find this resource in our online store.