The Art of Giving
I traveled a lot during 2013 visiting projects. By far the most interesting and rewarding visit was one I made to Mexico with Gordon Holmes of The Au Report and Jeff Phillips of Global Market Development. We were in Mexico to give hundreds of wheelchairs away. I learned a lot about the Art of Giving.
Gordon Holmes started a foundation named the Lookout Ridge Foundation years ago. It donates wheelchairs to needy persons all over the world. Jeff Phillips began a foundation he calls the India Phillips Foundation in memory of his daughter India who died literally overnight two years ago. Gordon and Jeff donated wheelchairs on their behalf and Almaden Minerals also contributed. I was asked along as part of a site visit to Almaden.
The UN estimates that 150 million people in the world need wheelchairs and cannot afford them. Neither can their governments afford even the cheapest of wheelchairs for them. Jeff and Gordon give wheelchairs to a few when they can. It is part of the art of giving.
I think that everyone can remember some gift in their life that carries substantial memories. It might have been a bike when you were five or an engagement ring in your twenties. You remember back fondly with the thoughtfulness and wonder that came with the gift.
Multiply that by 100 and that’s what these wheelchairs mean to those who receive them. Gordon has asked me a couple of times to come on a trip where he was giving away a trailer load of wheelchairs but something always came up until this last May when I went to Mexico and participated in one of their mass distributions.
Since the cost of transportation is such a large part of the total price of the wheelchairs, Gordon waits until he can fill a container with wheelchairs. He collects the ages and sizes of those the chairs are intended for. Wheelchairs are sized for the person getting the chair and for the type of terrain they will be used with.
Lookout Ridge has donated over 10,000 wheelchairs through various programs it is associated with. Gordon has personally distributed wheelchairs in Mexico, Ghana, Mali and the Philippines. On the trip I went on, Almaden Minerals paid for a number of chairs as part of a corporate contribution.
We did distributions in two different towns. All I can say about the distributions was that it was heart wrenching to see the gratitude the people showed who got them and family members. I saw people almost crawling in who were in their 70s and forced to use a tree branch to stumble along. Children who had never had mobility all of a sudden could zoom around for the first time in their lives. Old women with one leg could now visit shops without pain. It was moving, the most moving experience I have ever seen.
150 million people still need wheelchairs and without the generosity of Gordon Holmes, Jeff Phillips, Almaden Minerals and you, they will do without. Every donation, no matter how large or how small will go into chairs, not administration. Donations are tax deductable in both Canada and the US.
If you want to know the Art of Giving, try giving. You can donate here before January 1 and take a deduction for 2013.