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Author Topic: Holidays and Charity?  (Read 329 times)

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Fox

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Holidays and Charity?
« on: December 08, 2010, 07:53:34 AM »

This is the time of year that you most often run into someone collecting something for one charity or another, whether it be the bell ringers outside the stores or workplaces collecting for Toys For Tots or adopting a family.  I am all for supporting the efforts to help others out, but several years of participating personally and hearing others stories has left something of a bad taste and a scrooge like mentality for me.  This year is no exception.

My middle child brought home a flier from school with information about a family his class was adopting for the holidays.  Participation was absolutely voluntary, but heavily encouraged.  At first, I was pleased that he would get the opportunity to participate and learn a bit more about the need to help out others, then I read the wish list provided by the kids in this family.  There were things on there like games for Nintendo DS, games for an XBox and gift cards for the XBox Live service, clothes from specific, higher end stores and even one that specified that they absolutely did not want a particular type of clothing from another, lower end store.

It is things like this that have left me feeling as though I don't want to participate.  I can understand that you want to help kids to feel as though they are fitting in with their peers.  They tend to already feel like outcasts because they don't have the same types of things that their friends do.  I do agree with that to some extent.  When I see things like the requests for very specific brands of clothing though, it irritates me.  Then to see the gaming requests.  It is my understanding that to be able to use the XBox Live service, you need to have access to the internet, which, last time I checked, isn't free.  Not to mention, you had to have had the money for the unit itself.  Same goes for the DS.

My issue with all of that is why is it that this family needs help?  There was no back story at all provided, just this wish list for 3 different kids and a request to help.  I want to be able to help out someone that is in need, but I don't want to just give to a family because someone asked.  If there is money for things like expensive gaming units and internet services, why do they need my help?  There is very possibly a good reason this family was chosen, but the school didn't see fit to share that info and based on what I read on the list, I'm not overly inspired to want to help.  Heck, my kids didn't have many of the things that these kids were asking for and they are pretty darn spoiled.

It seems that this kind of thing happens all the time.  I've seen many examples myself and heard many, many more stories of others seeing similar or worse.  One such story was that a fellow coworker at my old job was in charge of delivering the presents to the family we'd adopted as a company and when he walked in, there was a huge TV, expensive stereo system and expensive car in the driveway.  In all, they had much nicer things than my coworker did.  The following years, the organization began collecting at a central location to then distribute to the families themselves so that the givers wouldn't see the living conditions of the families they adopted.  Another was at my husband's previous job where the company had multiple children that they adopted, each employee getting a child to sponsor and having all the children come to the office to receive their gifts.  Some kids had only asked for modest gifts, so that is what they got.  Then the upper executives spent lots of money on the kids they had and got them bikes or expensive sports team coats.  Since all of the children where there for the gifting, they saw what the other children got, surely leaving bitter feelings in those that got a board game while watching another child get a bike or coveted coat.

How do you feel about participating in charities?  Is it something you do and, if so, what kinds of things do you do?  Would you participate in a family gift adoption situation similar to the one my son brought home?  Sometimes I feel like such a miser when it comes to these things anymore, though I'd really rather I didn't and had something that I could really feel good about supporting.
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Tirya

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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 08:49:13 AM »

In general, I don't donate, for pretty much the same reasons. Call me scrooge if you want, but if I do donate to a human-based charity, it goes to a living facility for developmentally disabled children and adults.
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 10:04:51 AM »

No way in hell would I donate to something like what you've described.  That sort of stuff irritates me as well.  Sorry, but if you can afford a high end gaming system or internet service you aren't needy.  If the parents have lost their jobs they should be impressing on their children what's truly important, not continuing to attempt to spoil them further ... and for a school to ask other parents to enable that sort of crap is unacceptable IMO.

When I choose to donate, there are plenty of groups around here that help the truly needy ... veterans groups, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army are some of the better organized and there are smaller groups that aid more specific needs like Tir mentioned or even animal shelters and those who are helping pet owners who can't afford expensive medical treatments for their animals.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 10:11:29 AM »

I'm annoyed by the same. I don't even like Toys for Tots that much because I think it is promoting materialism that everyone has to have a brand new toy, no hand made or perfectly good hand-me downs.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 10:23:49 AM »

I'd only give to Vet organizations or animal charities, the rest can "root hog, or die."
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 10:25:55 AM »

In thinking about this more, I'm really frustrated by this situation as a whole.  I want to teach my kids about being concerned about and caring for others, thinking about something/anything beyond themselves (which is an issue with my kids at the moment), yet this isn't the example I want them to learn.  As CD pointed out, this "help" isn't really helping the kids on either side of this, the ones helping or the ones getting.

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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 10:50:06 AM »

See if there is a homeless shelter or soup kitchen that needs help serving meals, maybe? Or somewhere that takes donations (like Goodwill) so they can see that even though they may not want a toy or some clothes anymore, there are people who would love to have them because they can't afford all the "new things".
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 01:58:08 PM »

Mom and I...and the kidling... participated in Toys for Tots for years. The past few years, we've supported our local fire department's toy drive. And Mom's been doing the Giving Tree at church for 20 years. I used to be involved with Cloth A Child. I don't think they even do that one anymore, which is a shame. It was a blast to pick up a child and take them shopping... and no, "name" brands were not on the list, ever. We still do the Giving Tree and the fire department. They don't ask for name brands or big ticket items. The tree just wants to make sure children in the area have what they need to stay warm: This year, Mom got a boy sneakers, a hat amd gloves, and a girl a new pants and blouse. The toys we donated included a stuffed Giraffe whose purchase price included a donation to St Jude's.
Charity is a year round thing for us. Has been since I was small: Any money we found, spare change, etc...was saved up to send to St Joseph's Indian School and Boy's Town. The Children's Mirical Network gets what we can afford...and I have seen what that money means to local children's wards.
Charity is a good thing to give to, but I think these days....we must realy be choosey in what we donate to.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 06:37:09 PM »

Yes you do need internet to have be able to play online on Xbox BUT most games do not have to played online. A lot of them, if not all, have a single player mode that allows you to simply play the game by yourself. As for a DS, the only thing I can consider is that a lot of places sell used games/consoles very cheaply especially small game stores unlike Gamestop/Best Buy. So it is quite possible a child of a poorer family could have one. It might not be in the best condition but if it plays, it plays. However, everything else you've thrown in there: cards for the service of Xbox live (obviously they can afford internet,) clothes from higher end stores...these are just plain silly.
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dragonspring

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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 08:51:58 AM »

I usually donate to several charitable causes during the holidays but I am particular about who those donations go to.  A local Pagan women's organization does a Yule tree and the wish lists seem pretty reasonable.  They give the gifts to the kids at a party but they open them at home.  I also give to food pantries and the Salvation Army.
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Carmie

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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2010, 01:58:43 PM »

When my kids were smaller, we'd go through their toyboxes every November and have a clean out.  Anything that they didn't play with that was still in good condition went to the salvation army or other charity for those people who wouldn't get any toys for Christmas. 

I've been on the receiving end of a hamper at Christmas once and it was a relief to get presents to be able to give to the children without the guilt of spending money on non essential purchases.  Beach towels, a cricket set and a doll were plenty for both our kids.  The fact that there was something to open at Christmas is what made the difference!
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2010, 08:17:34 PM »

That difference you talk about Carmie is why the Salvation Army still gets money in the kettle every year. Well, part of it. Both my parents grew up in coal mining families. Talk about not having much! SA had a party every year for the children of the miners, and every child got something: usually a small toy, some artical of clothing, and fresh fruit. It meant a lot. Then, when Dad was in the Service, his uncle, a US Vet, died. It was the Salvation Army that got Dad back from Korea for a week, so he could attend the funeral, and present the flag to his aunt. They also stepped in when his sister lost her baby, so Dad knew about it within 24 hours, instead of the weeks it would have taken for a letter to reach him.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2010, 08:43:41 PM »

My oldest brought home another flier today.  This one is for a group of 4 very young homeless children that the girls high school basketball team is supporting.  Their lists include absolute necessities like socks and underwear and age appropriate toys.  THAT I can support.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2010, 09:07:34 PM »

Yeah, that sounds much more like the Yule tree list that I support.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2010, 09:09:11 PM »

My oldest brought home another flier today.  This one is for a group of 4 very young homeless children that the girls high school basketball team is supporting.  Their lists include absolute necessities like socks and underwear and age appropriate toys.  THAT I can support.

Aww yay!  :cheer: Support!
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2010, 09:39:50 PM »

My daughter and I just looked through the Yule tree list and decided who we are sponsoring.  I'm really proud of her - she has decided to purchase gifts of her own so that we can sponsor another child. :D
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 09:41:21 PM »

I think that is awesome!  I've said it before, but you have an amazing girl there, DS.  :loveheart:
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 09:54:34 PM »

I think that is awesome!  I've said it before, but you have an amazing girl there, DS.  :loveheart:

 :yeahthat:
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2010, 05:28:23 AM »

I like that lower end support :)

We have 'wish trees' at the front of some stores, you take a tag from the tree and it has the age and sex of a child on it.  Purchase the present, attach the tag and then put it under the tree.  No requests, just the thoughts and money of a stranger to help out.
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Re: Holidays and Charity?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2010, 11:48:33 AM »

I think giving is wonderful.  I support a food bank with food but mostly with volunteer hours.  The problem comes, in my opinion, when holiday drives tap into the guilt of having instead of the joy of giving.  It's not just a financial issue, it's a spiritual one, in my opinion.  The energy that goes with the gift is tremendously powerful.

The radio station I listen to in the car did a toy drive for foster children this week.  DJs I normally enjoy and respect sounded like hawkers.  It was so obvious that the drive was about a corporate goal and not the true spirit of abundance flowing.  Kind of disgusting.
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