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Season of Giving

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One week before Christmas, five days before Festivus and three days before Hanukkah, take a step back from worrying about which Oklahoma player is injured or who is calling the plays for Florida. Instead, bring out your inner Tim Tebow. No, not the Tebow that taunts FSU fans and wants to destroy his opponents. The Tim Tebow that spends Spring Break and part of his Summer working with orphans in the Philippines and speaking with little kids in Florida.

We all know the economy is not in great shape. But what we may not realize is that charities are the hardest hit in economic downturns. Not only do we contribute less donations to charities, a lot of charities rely on trust funds. Those funds have shrunk as the market has fallen. We may not have a spare $20 to throw in the collection plate or for a Salvation Army ringer, but I know you have two hours to volunteer this weekend. After all, there is no Gator football game and basketball doesn't play until 6:30 Saturday.

If you're in Tampa, Alligator Army suggests Metropolitan Ministries, which has served Tampa for more than 35 years. Every city has charities in need this holiday season, and they will take what ever you can give. Your local Gator Club, if it's a good one, probably has a charity drive as well.

If you're like me and you want to pair your giving with the Florida Gators, there are two great places;

- Danny Wuerffel's Desire Street Ministries; Originally started in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, Desire Street has expanded their operations in Louisiana. They have now expanded their work into Alabama as well.

Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association; Tim's Dad has been working with families and children in the Philippines since Tim was born. The organization has a religious background, but provides educational and medical assistance as well.

If you are interested in more secular giving, the UF Foundation is a great place to start, considering there are more budget cuts on the way.

If you're thinking, "Sheeeet, I don't want to do anything with poor people/old people/disabled people." Think of it this way; you can wear a Gator hat when you go volunteer or donate Gator toys. That way you'll bring the Gators good karma and everybody wins.