• Rachel Dzik

It’s all about the give and take

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Family Photo of Grandparents and Cousins

Holiday season is here and I am so excited! This is my favorite time of the year because it is just one of many excuses to be with my family and share gifts with one another. Every year the holidays come back and we go through the same routine, and if I’m being honest I am receiving a lot of love and lots of gifts. At times I find myself feeling guilty for everything that I am getting from my family and friends, even though in my heart I know they give gifts because they care. Yes, I do give them gifts in return, but I still somehow feel that I haven’t given enough.

This year I decided that I was going to make gift giving a little different. In my family’s Jewish tradition, we practice something called Tzedakah, which means charity. I wanted to not only share my love with my family but with those who do not receive love in return for the love they give. Animals in shelters have so much love to give, and it is truly heartbreaking that they have no one to return the love they exude. So, I decided that I was going to give to the Humane Society, an animal shelter.

Grandmother and me volunteering at Humane Society

I have been volunteering at the Humane Society for a little over 3 years. It has become a special place for me over the years because I volunteer at the shelter in my hometown, Chattanooga, with my grandmother. While I can’t always show up on a regular basis to volunteer my time, I do my best to give what I can. This year I have saved up about $50 in Tzedakah money and I chose to donate to the Humane Society to support the dogs and cats that need foster homes. I wanted to provide money because then the shelter can buy what the animals need rather than what I would assume would be beneficial. Just giving money sometimes might feel like it’s not really giving, but I think that anything we give comes from our hearts no matter what it is.

Even though I will never get to see what my money did to help the Humane Society, I feel that I have done something that feels better than any gift I have ever received. I love knowing that I could give AND receive and not feel that guilt I had beforehand. I could accept the gifts my loved ones were giving me, return the gift giving to them, and give to those in need. The best gift I got this season was learning that I didn't have to choose between giving and receiving, I can do both!

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