International Day of Charity
annually on September 5th (since 2013)
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 17th, 2012
The General Assembly of the United Nations established the International Day of Charity to mobilize people, nongovernmental organizations, and stakeholders to help others by volunteering and taking part in philanthropic activities. The day recognizes the role that charity—both through charitable organizations and individuals—plays in alleviating human suffering and humanitarian crises. One individual known for her charity work was Mother Teresa, and September 5 was chosen as the date of the International Day of Charity to commemorate her passing. She died on the date in 1997 at the age of 87.
Mother Teresa spent more than 45 years of her life ministering to the poor, orphaned, sick, and dying. Born as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, she went to India in the late 1920s to help the destitute. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, to help the poor and dying there. It expanded around India, and then around the world. In 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace."
How to Observe International Day of Charity
Take part by volunteering your time at an organization such as a homeless shelter, senior center, food pantry, or animal shelter. Donate food to a food bank. Give your time or money to another charitable organization. No matter how you choose to participate, you are sure to be helping to alleviate human suffering.