My turn: Giving to charity has own rewards

I’m not sure if this is about a small world, or patting myself on the back (since no one else will).

Seeing the cleft lips and palates of kids in Operation Smile promotions hits fairly close to home.

After KVII-TV recently aired an hour-long appeal from the charity, hosted by actress Roma Downey of “Touched by an Angel” fame, I figured it was legitimate enough to donate the cost of a surgery for one of thousands of kids from 50 countries.

When the woman who answered the phone in Nebraska asked what city I was from, I began to spell Portales. Halfway through, she exclaimed, “I used to live there!”

Although “Renee” moved away years ago, she remembers Goober Gulch well.

That Sunday, as I was leaving Wal-Mart, a weary-looking woman by the parking lot exit held a cardboard sign saying, “Family in Need.”

My first instinct was to drive by, but then I figured if life had brought her to that point, the satisfaction from a small contribution far outweighed the counter-arguments.

Perhaps she was a great actress, but her sincere-sounding “God Bless You!” was worth infinitely more than the small cost. I know that many are skeptical about donating to panhandlers, but until we’ve walked in their shoes…