[EDITORIALS]Put love in your heartAn anonymous benefactor donated $1.5 billion won ($1.2 million) for scholarships to the local government of South Gyeongsang province over the past two years, refusing to reveal his or her face. Students who received scholarships to study in India asked government officials in charge of the program for the benefactor's name, but they received no answer.
In central Seoul, an "angel" has put 10,000-won bills worth 1 million won into the Salvation Army's charity pot located in front of the escalator near the basement entrance of the Lotte Department Store every year for 16 years. Even for a short moment, we can forget the thorny problems of our world by listening to stories of faceless benefactors.
Still, our charitable instincts are not consonant with the level of our economy. According to a survey conducted by "The Beautiful Foundation," three out of five Koreans make donations. The average annual donation is 98,000 won. Although the conditions are improving, those contributing to charities on a regular basis are still rare. In the United States, 98 percent of citizens make donations of some kind ever year; In England, more than two-thirds of the adult population make contributions to charities every month. In particular, small donations comprise 77 percent of total donation value in the United States, indicating that giving to charities is deeply rooted in the culture. Unfortunately, our charitable culture relies heavily on large contributions made by few individuals or companies.
In order to establish a culture of charity, it is important to get accustomed to making small donations from childhood. At the same time, charities should provide "after service" to benefactors. Reporting transparently about the uses of collected funds on a regular basis could be a part of that service.
Social workers all say that attention to needy neighbors subsided this year, perhaps because of the slow economy. Raindrops are collected into a stream and form a river. Some may say that the generosity of one person is insignificant; but when collected, goodwill can save a large number of people. In this bitterly cold winter, let us participate in helping our needy neighbors to share the warmth in our hearts.