Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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On Money

As vegans, most of us are compassionate souls and share some concerns regarding animal rights, food production, and often many other issues that we feel should be addressed. Thank goodness that there are organizations out there who do exactly that! Even if we cannot afford the time to become an active participant, we can donate money to those who are. Our money can then be spent promoting the causes that we find important, and affecting the social changes that we desire.

I have donated time, energy, and money to various causes that were important to me. One day in the mail I received a letter from an organization that I hadn't heard of before. They also supported my cause! I researched them, confirmed that they were reputable, and donated some money to them also. I didn't realize it at the time, but this new organization was just the tip of the iceberg. Through the power of networking or marketing my name and address were suddenly on the mailing lists of dozens of organizations. I began to receive letters from many groups, all of them very earnest in their pleas, and some of them honestly needed donations immediately to avoid terrible consequences. I'm not made of money though, and I found myself facing a decision: should I turn down these requests, knowing what the consequences might be, or should I donate my money to these causes? Will animals die, the environment degrade, and children be abused because I did not donate to that organization? If I donate, will I still be able to afford to eat or make my rent/mortgage payment?

It is important to realize that there are thousands and thousands of charities and other organizations promoting causes, and there is no doubt that many of them involve an issue important to you so many of them in fact that just donating a "recommended minimum amount" to each one would collectively involve a massive sum of money that very few of us could ever afford. This forces all of us to decide where to draw the line. At some point, even if it pains us, we must refuse to donate money to a deserving group.

Does this situation sound familiar? The painful reality is that money makes some things, but not all things, possible. No one person, not even you or I, can save them all. Individually though we can definitely make a difference. That compassionate soul of yours can shine though, but how do you know how much you can donate and still have enough left over to pay your bills? Creating a personal budget is the first step towards managing your money and establishing how much you can give. Budgeting is an easy step that can have a dramatic impact on your life. It will help to pinpoint where your money is going, and help you to set some goals. You may have many financial goals, such as paying off a credit card or buying a house. Additionally, set goals for donations to your favorite causes. A budget will help you to discover how much you can afford to donate, and when. Budgeting will put YOU in control of your money. There are many web sites and books with tutorials, but at its simplest budgeting is nothing more than writing down a list of your monthly bills, and totaling them. Compare that amount with your monthly income. Having money left over (or not having enough) will indicate how much you can give (or where you need to cut back).

It's great to feel in control of your money, and to know that your donations are having a positive impact on others' lives & without having a negative impact on your own.

Rob B.D.
Arizona

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