Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Price Your 'Charity'?

I recently picked up a free paper at one of our local pharmacies.  It used to be an interesting read, with some decent stories, and tips of all sorts regarding raising your kids.  This paper was hardly worth reading, sadly.  It is only fit for lining the guinea pig cage, having gone the way of most free papers, i.e., packed full of advertisements. 

One article did attract my attention, although I didn't give it a full scrutiny - but picked out the salient points.  It was about 'giving' to those less fortunate, now that it is the Christmas season.  Now, I don't want to burst someone's self-righteous bubble, but to my mind, teaching your children to help others JUST at Christmas is, to me, not what it is all about.  It smacks just a teensy weensy bit of the Lady Bountifuls, don't you think?

One woman was so awfully proud that she had the children include their own little letter and a photo of themselves.  Well geez lady, I am sure some poor little homeless child will gaze with absolute wonder and joy on your well fed, well-dressed and well-shod little tribe, smiling smugly in front of their loaded Christmas tree, in front of a gazillion presents.  And I am equally sure that said homeless child will be full of boundless and endless gratitude.

I do understand your sentiment, and your stated reason for teaching your children to give without expecting anything in return.  But wouldn't you be better off to teach them that helping others is a year-long project?  There are other kids out there who are hungry all year round, who never have warm clothes to wear in winter, kids whose school life is a misery (IF they go to school) simply because they have nothing. Kids whose whole life is a misery, through no fault of their own.

The people I admire more are the ones who, for example,  selflessly volunteer their time to assist charities such as Lifeline, St. Vincent De Paul, and the Salvation Army.  They give week after week, asking nothing.  There are quite a few organisations who quietly assist people year in, year out, and who are always desperate for help of any sort.

My own small contribution?  We rarely sell anything that we don't need - I call Lifeline and hand it all over to them.  They are always so happy to be remembered, as every item can be sold by them, and is sheer profit for them.   I am not able to volunteer to serve in their shop, but in my small way I help through the year. Every year.  

There are hundreds of people like me - without this sort of assistance most of the charities would fold. Why not volunteer to help in the shop, or sorting clothing, anything rather than writing letters to shout about how well off you are!

More admirable than that are the anonymous folk who buy toys, clothes etc., and lovingly wrap them, then quietly add them to the Christmas tree outside many of the large department stores.  The only writing you will see is a gift card, saying "To a dear little boy, with love".

Why not make it Christmas every day of the year?  It isn't difficult, especially if you don't need applause for what you do.


lisa :) said...

Couldn't agree more, there are kids that need food/clothes/shelter all year round far more than a christmas present xx

Carol said...

There sure are, kids and adults. Thank you for your kind comments, always! :)