Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Charitable Giving

Christmas time is a time of stress. Forget about those chestnuts roasting in an open fire.  There is even more roasting in store for harassed parents – the mothers in particular, but for everyone. But be of good cheer, it could still be worse.

Those who retain some memory of what Christmas really represents have a leg up here. We remember what it's supposed to be about. For all others, well let's just say we hope their holidays are happy while we ”keep them in our prayers.” There is the treasured bit about “it is better to give than to receive.” All retailers embrace this one, and to be fair, so do most of us.  At least theoretically. Now along come the telemarketers. You know, those recorded voices that come along every time you are sitting down to eat dinner. They have successfully aligned themselves with the United States Postal Service to insure that worthy causes are ever on your mind. Are they ever.

Without question there are needy souls in this world.  There are certainly causes that deserve our energies and dollars.  If you have had cancer, or have a relative or friend inflicted by this curse of curses, how could you not support the drive to cure it?  If you are a veteran how can you turn your back on the Wounded Warrior project?  There are charities and programs that truly deserve our commitment. So, why would there be a problem with charitable giving?

The answer lies in loopholes and lack of a central clearing house for legitimate causes. We are inundated with pleas for charitable giving.  The “No Call” listing that was meant to protect our private phone numbers specifically exclude charities. Add that to an array of similar-sounding charities.  You may get a plea from “Fight Cancer/Your Town” then one from “Your Town Cancer Campaign”, followed by “South/Your Town Cancer Fund” and one or two others. Repeated Cancer telephone solicitations leave you with a bad taste about the worthwhile fight against this dread disease.  It is counter-productive for the charity involved.

In our house, like countless others, we are sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate.  We don't have an iron-clad game plan but ours does include some steps starting with caller ID and not taking any phone calls during meals. We NEVER give out credit card information or make any sort of commitment via telephone, insisting on receiving solicitations by mail (and we do not give out our address if they don't already have it.)

Charity really does begin at home, notably in trying to preserve our sanity.

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