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Like swallows returning to Capistrano, they're back. The bell ringers, change boxes, mailers, callers and all the other scavengers out competing with the regular, year round panhandlers for your spare change and mine, looking to make the best of the enhanced spirit of generosity presumed to infuse the public mood at this time of year. When I pass those collecting for the Salvation Army, or Toys for Tots, or even for the food pantry or children's cancer research, I get mad as hell and have to choke back little bile.

It's not that I don't give to charity. I do. Nor do I hate the homeless, the hungry the sick and the child denied a holiday gift by his family's crushing poverty. My heart bleeds for all of them and it is not they who are making me mad.  

Follow me out into the tall grass and I will explain.

The ones making me mad are the ones who think that the way to address the terrible problems of society's victims is to solicit and dispense charitable giving, because charities are less a part of the solution than a part of the problem.

My spirit of charity informs both my heart and my intellect that the proper and sensible way for society to address the shortcomings in our collective ability to adequately provide for so many persons' basic necessities of life, from food and shelter and clean water, to work and health, is to act, all together, as a society, pooling our resources to address these basic problems afflicting too many of our fellow Americans. The only institution in existence designed to enable all of us to act together as a nation to address national needs and provide for the general welfare is the federal government.

Yet, too often, the same individuals who are volunteering to raise a few dollars for their favorite philanthropy, and particularly our plutocratic masters who include, as part of their regular tax planning, what to you and I would be massive amounts charitable giving, will spend much time and energy obstructing, fighting and trying dismantle the already starved and neglected ability of our government to truly service society's needs. Hence, a right wing rag like the Daily Caller will tout how generously Mitt Romney donates to charity, while continuing to shill for Republican plans to take food away from hungry children.

The federal government knows where the needs are and federal agencies know that the scraps of housing, nutrition and other safety net programs left to them service only a fraction of the need. The nation knows how much to spend on safety net problems, but we lack, as a nation, the political will to do what should be done, or, perhaps, lack the ability to wield that will against the wishes of the plutocrats who really call the shots.

In the meantime, some charities fill some chinks and gaps, some of the time, only through the time and money of millions of Americans who think they just want to help a little, to relieve someone's suffering, so they give, or they collect, or they volunteer and they feel better about themselves. This is not only ineffective. It is wasteful.

Charities are typically much less efficient than the government at getting the help needed to those in need. According to a study of the main federal safety net programs by the Center for Budget Priorities and Policies, direct delivery of programs, goods and services to those in need received "more than 90 percent of spending on Medicaid, SNAP, housing vouchers, Supplemental Security Income, school meals and the Earned Income Tax Credit". By contrast, the American Cancer Society spends only 71.2% of its funds to actually deliver programs and services. Christian Relief Services Charity  does a bit better at 83.8%. Habitat for Humanity International does the same, at 83.8%.

A few charities match or even exceed federal government efficiency in delivering programs and services, like the American Red Cross and the food bank alliance, Feeding America. But the general fact is that by acting together as a society through the instrumentalities of government, we can better provide for the general welfare of our fellow Americans in need, without arbitrary strings, more reliably, more justly and much more efficiently.

At this time of year, when charitable solicitors are in my face more than at any other time, with their ringing and their dinging and their calling and their clamor, I am once again angered that my country cannot get its forward end out of its hind end and really face up to the problems of our people that we the people, as a nation, should be addressing nationally, comprehensively, reliably, effectively, efficiently, and not through the fickle, and sometimes biased, hand of private charity.

Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 02:21 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Reminds me of... (7+ / 0-)

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 02:27:45 PM PST

  •  Romney?!! (13+ / 0-)

    He only contributes to Mormon charities, and I'll bet that one reason he didn't want his tax returns made public is because he's been stiffing the LDS on his tithes.

  •  Well- (15+ / 0-)

    I'd certainly agree that a realistic social safety net is a more effective and often more efficient way to help those in need. I'd agree that no one should have to rely on "the kindness of strangers" for the basic necessities of life.

    But until we have that ideal safety net, those charities are the only thing staving off disaster for a lot of people. So I don't find them annoying, I'm glad they're out there and I'm happy to give what I can.

    •  We have a long way to go (10+ / 0-)

      Before our country takes useful steps to address the (nearing abject) poverty of so many of our citizens.  I refuse to wait around until that happy day.  In the meantime, I will continue to give 15% of my income to organizations that use that money to help my fellow citizens who are suffering under our country's current hostility to those who were not born rich.  There are many charities (and organizations that evaluate charities) who make meaningful and life-giving differences in the lives of their constituents.  And it's a lot more fun to invest money into those ventures than it is to give yet another tie, et cetera to those who have plenty.

    •  I'm afraid I agree with the diarist (10+ / 0-)

      Charity is nice and all, but it IS a drop in the bucket, and it's very frustrating to be hit up at a time when you are spending LESS on food each week than the food assistance allotment so published through the food assistance challenge.

      I saw through a county council hearing out here in my urban area last week about continuing a large allocation of government money to aid struggling food pantries. At one point the Food Bank representative mentioned how much produce they distribute in a year. I realized then that if my large church urban farm, which grows food exclusively to feed hungry people here in town, multiplied our output by 20 (something we don't have time, space or especially volunteers to do) we would still be producing only 1/200th of that amount. It feels almost futile.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 04:31:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Add to the problem a lot of thse charities (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul

        around this time of year are religious based.  Unfortunately the bad things that come with organized religion come with organized religious charities.

        So besides knowing which organizations are run the most efficiently giving your dollar the most bang for your buck, you have to start watching to make sure you aren't indirectly supporting a group that promotes un-Democratic ideals.  Luckily the internet is good way to filter through a lot of charities, plus you can always give directly to those in need, or donate your time.

        •  Ok, but the affiliations and admin expense ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... can be known without too much research.

          Yes, of course, time donated is almost certainly worth more than our level of contributions, but it doesn't take much to decide which charities are worthy of our own scarce dollars.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 04:07:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  If they were administered by volunteers, (0+ / 0-)

      then so would I be willing to contribute. But most are not, so I would rather mail a gift card for groceries to those who need help--anonymously.

  •  I'm in full agreement... (25+ / 0-)

    ...and I'm in charge of one of those charities. But you won't find a holiday request from me in your email box. What I will probably send out is a request that those who understand the importance of an adequate social safety net (in contrast to the patchedwork of insufficiency that we have today) vote responsibly, and stay in touch with their legislators on the importance of an adequate social safety net.
    You'll also have my thanks for your understanding of the difference between holiday charity and true social responsibility.

  •  Ah, come on... (5+ / 0-)

    Just pick and choose the charities that are meaningful to you and ignore the rest.  Just give locally to nonprofits that you know and trust and who serve your neighbors.  Never mind about the others.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 02:46:54 PM PST

  •  Charities (5+ / 0-)

    I agree with Leftofyou in everything except the bell ringers.  For a lot of those ringers it's a J-O-B.  Admittedly it pays crap - the Salvation Army pays about $8/hr for them to (wo)man that gauntlet in front of our grocery store.  And the good ole S.L. keeps track of each penny they collect to guard against theft or lackadaisical clanging.  In short it's a suck job, but it's the best this America is offering them.

  •  A related example is of drugstore chains (9+ / 0-)

    and perhaps others, if you use a debit or credit card while you're doing the work (punching all those buttons) a screen pops up asking you to donate to the charity de jour (in October it's Komen and now it's I think diabetes). I find this captive audience obnoxious forcing itself into your transaction. If i want to give them money I will do it on my own volition and time not in the midst of trying to buy something

  •  These are the people you need to persuade (16+ / 0-)
    millions of Americans who think they just want to help a little, to relieve someone's suffering, so they give, or they collect, or they volunteer and they feel better about themselves.
    I have spent decades in non-profit social services. People would much rather buy toys for needy children than pay for a family's heating bill. They feel better about buying canned goods for hurricane victims in the Phillipines than "just writing a check". They will spend hours collecting and distributing coats and blankets to homeless people, but bristle at the notion of providing free day care and subsidized housing so a homeless single mom might get off the streets.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:14:37 PM PST

    •  not sure what charity you are (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched, Chi, Catte Nappe, paz3

      with, but Catholic Charities, does exactly what you talk about. Utilities, diapers, food, housing. And, an excellent rating.

      •  Many of us do all of those things (0+ / 0-)

        The point is, donors are more interested in "things" than "money". So diapers and canned goods are much more easily come by than funds for rent or utilities. Not to mention charities can purchase even those things in large quantities at a discount to what donors spent at their local store. It's not to say funds for rent or utilities or other needs don't exist at all - it does.; just not as much as would be most helpful compared to the more "hands on" but sometimes less practical gifts. (I.e. canned goods to ship to the Phillipines).

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 10:45:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me clarify (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Senor Unoball

          At CC we get $$ donations. We also have fundraisers twice a year that brings in money. Which we use to purchase food, pay utilities, buy diapers, operate a transitional housing program, pay for counseling, etc. We also take item donations such as furniture, vehicles, appliances, etc. But $$ is our biggest commodity. Our donors are just the opposite of what you describe.

          •  Then you are blessed (0+ / 0-)

            Or your daily tasks have you dealing less with donors than with recipients.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 02:02:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well I guess we are (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe

              My wife was actually the director and counselor of the local CC and dealt with both extensively. We are still involved as volunteers. The Church, our parishioners, and others are very generous, especially considering the economy we've been in for a while.

    •  And you know what's really crazy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      they probably give checks or gifts cards to their family members at Christmas, because their nearest and dearest would rather have the cash.

      This is so upside down--cash is always the best charitable gift, because it can be used to buy anything people need.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 01:19:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I quit donating to the Salvation Army when (9+ / 0-)

    I found out that they're horrendously homophobic and whacked out superstitious / paranoid.  I had avoided all religion-based charities for years but made an exception for them.  Never again!

    Here's just the index from their RationalWiki entry:

    2. Criticism
        2.1 Anti-union activities
        2.2 Child abuse in Australian orphanages
        2.3 Homophobia
        2.4 Transphobia
        2.5 BDSM and sex trafficking
        2.6 Satanic paranoia
        2.7 Cult-like behaviour

    Excerpts:

    Homophobia

    The Salvation Army officially maintains that homosexuality is a "sin" and that gay people should be celibate and has refused charity money or assistance to gays.  George W. Bush exempted the organization from anti-discrimination laws despite federal funding.  They also threatened to move out of New York City after a city ordinance ruled that all organizations receiving funding from the city would be required to pay benefits to the spouses of gay employees.  A state court ruled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not have to enforce the ordinance.  As a result, a number of LGBT activist groups have boycotted the Salvation Army.[15]  
    In 2012, an Australian Salvation Army official called for all LGBT to be "put to death", during an interview discussing the Army's manual Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine.[16] A number of Australian celebrities and groups have called for a boycott of the Salvation Army.[17][18]

    Transphobia
    In December 2008, the Salvation Army threw Jennifer Gale, a transwoman, out of a homeless shelter for being female not male. She was found dead on the sidewalk, having tried to sleep there.[21]

    Read more here:
    http://rationalwiki.org/...

    They don't win until we quit fighting!

    by Eyesbright on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:26:36 PM PST

    •  Broad brush (and some misinformation) there (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, grover, Bush Bites, Chi, Urban Owl

      You might want to check out your local Salvation Army programs and make a decision based on that. Any organization of any size will have a few outliers in one place or another. That might be true in your community as well - but it might not be.  This is their outlook in my community

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:48:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. The Army is nigh unto a religious sect, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright

      because those strong beliefs so often translate into discriminatory policy.

      I wouldn't contribute to any sect's collection box except one I subscribe to, so I always pass the bell-ringers by (not forgetting to hail them with a jovial, non-sectarian "Happy Holidays!").

    •  That story about Jennifer Gale is not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, Alice in Florida

      She died in the doorway of a neighborhood Lutheran church where she often slept, miles from the Salvation Army.

      She could have gone to the City shelter a block from the Salvation Army, she certainly knew it was there.

      If she ever did try to get in the Salvation Army, it would have been a political act, and she was very political. But it doesn't sound like her at all. She was a positive spirit, not an angry negative person.

      Exploiting Jennifer to bash the Salvation Army disrespects her reality. She had a lot of problems, but was known and liked in Austin.

      •  Here is the reference given at the cite: (0+ / 0-)

        (aside:  as far as I can tell, the Salvation Army has not denied refusing her a bed.)

        Rest In Peace, Jennifer Gale

        http://transgriot.blogspot.ca/...

        They don't win until we quit fighting!

        by Eyesbright on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 09:23:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A blog? Not a source that knows (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover

          I live in Austin, not far from the church where she died, and this story is a lie.

          You want to believe the Sally refused her entrance, citing a source that claims she died on their sidewalk, which is flatly not true.

          I don't know whether the S.A turned her away, I doubt she would go there, the City's shelter is a block away. Also, many people knew Jennifer and would have made sure she had shelter.

          She had resourced and friends, but chose to live outside.

          If there is a case to be made against the Salvation Army, it needs to be made without lying about Jennifer Gale.

    •  What the hell happened to "Judge not lest ye (0+ / 0-)

      be judged"?

  •  There are a lot of charities that I like (6+ / 0-)

    Wounded Warriors
    St. Jude's Children's Hospital
    The Make A Wish Foundation

    Are just a few.

    But here's the thing. I don't believe in talking about giving. Never have. I don't even believe in claiming it on taxes to be honest. I don't want to give anyone the impression that the giving is about me, so I just never talk about it; plus as a Christian I have to go with what Jesus taught on the matter and that was to give such aid anonymously whenever possible.

    I don't want that to sound like I'm looking down on anyone, because I'm really not. I just a different outlook on it. To me giving like that isn't really anything that special. I do it because I think it's the right thing to do and because I care about people. I just think that's all that notable and it genuinely surprises me when someone thinks it is (should they find out I was involved, which I really try to avoid)

    “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

    by bayushisan on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 03:46:19 PM PST

    •  None of those charities (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, Chi

      address bedrock needs. The Make A Wish Foundation in particular is decorative, not fundamental. Health care charities make me especially crazy because I think everyone should be provided with the health care they need, and begging on behalf of children especially angers me.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:11:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With all due respect (5+ / 0-)

        Don't give to those charities then; but also don't think that asking for donations to stay open so that very sick children can get the care they need, free of charge, is somehow begging.

        Danny Thomas started St. Jude's and it's recognized as one of the leading children's hospitals around because of the work he and other celebrities have put into making people aware that it exists and that they operate off donations. They don't charge the parents. That's why they exist, to help children in need and if that's bothersome somehow or begging on a child's behalf then be angry. I'll give to them any time I can because, as stated, I like them and I think they do good work.

        As for The Make A Wish Foundation? Again that would be your opinion, not mine. A dying kid should be able to have their last wish granted if possible, and that's what Make A Wish does to the best of their ability. Blizzard entertainment gives every year to them, and has had multiple kids come down to their offices and see how things are done and meet everyone as part of their wish. Heck one kid got to create a quest that's still in the game, AND voice the Tauren quest giver. That is unbelievable cool of them. The kid passed, but he's memorialized in the game by that quest. Blizzard does things like that because they support what Make A Wish is about. It may not be fundamental to you, but it is to me and making a child's dying days happier is a damn good thing in my book and deserves respect.

        As does the Wounded Warrior project. How in the bloody hell is that not a bedrock need? We're talking about the health care of our own. The men and women who chose to serve and put their lives on the line by putting on the uniform of the Armed Forces. They don't get to pick and choose where they go and when they get wounded the asshats who run things abandon them by the fricking wayside. They deserve better than that and by God at least someone is actually stepping up to do the damn job that should have been done by our Government.

        So yeah. We'll agree to disagree here.

        “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

        by bayushisan on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:32:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah! God forbid a dying child gets a free trip to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Peace Missile

        Disney World.

  •  They don't help many people. (6+ / 0-)

    I discovered in a period of poverty just how hard it is to get any actual help from the social services agencies I had always heard about. They have many hoops to jump through and staff who seem to feel their job is to self-righteously come up with excuses not to help people who ask. They're good at collecting money to have staff and offices. Not so good at actually helping many people beyond a select few they deem worthy.

    •  Little known fact (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftOfYou, DFWmom, Chi, Alice in Florida

      Many charities, large and small, have little income that they can use to meet needs at their own discretion. Often there are many strings attached. This money can only be used to help with partial payment of utility bills, and only once per year per applicant. That money can only be used on heating bills for people in these three zip codes. This fund over here is limited to one time rent payments for families who meet the folliwing four complex guidelines....
      Generally it's not self-righteous excuses, it's limits imposed by foundation, government and individual donors. Most people in social service agencies would much rather say "yes" than "no"; but resources aren't there to say "yes" to every (or even most) requests that are obcious and legitimate needs.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 05:58:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  our small 501 C gives 100 percent (6+ / 0-)

    to the vet.  No salaries, nada.....Me and my vounteers do not get more than gas money....if that....
    That is one small charity that should make you smile.  I am sure they are others out there like me and mine but I don't know but one or two.  We are small but effective and it does what a charity is supposed to. We Give unselfishly to those in need even if it costs us.  I never said I started it for gain except to know we try to help.
    I don't ring bells, or send out mailers.. I simply ask people to help me help a few.  If you feel inclined click my sig line...if not... we understand...

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:44:43 PM PST

    •  That is truly wonderful. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKDAWUSS, Vetwife, YucatanMan, psyched, Chi
      100 percent to the vet.  No salaries, nada.....Me and my vounteers do not get more than gas money....if that....
      But I'd bet even you would be grateful to live instead in a world where we all took care of those needs, fully, together, and there simply wasn't a single damned thing for you and your volunteers to take care of.  

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:01:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes... yes I would and I would have no need to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Expat Okie, Chi, LeftOfYou

        go on national tv to make some VA administrators to do'the right thing in many VA's.  I wouldnt have to spend al my time trying to get proper care for those who simply have no fight left in them.  Yes I wish there were no reason for us to be out there advocating for the one who borne the battle.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:07:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How many of those charities send money to where (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    they claim it is going to, rather than someone's back pocket? I've become rather leery of charities for that suspicion, however well or ill founded that is, TBQH.

  •  There are diaries on here all the time critical (5+ / 0-)

    about those who walk past people asking for money in the streets. Diaries about what a bunch of jerks many people are for not helping out someone in need.  Those diaries get a ton of rec's and a bunch of comments about how helpful people here are verses the rest of the world.  Now we get a diary about how much a person dislikes charities during the holiday season and a bunch of comments about how charities don't help enough.  Unreal...

    Maybe you can tell all of those people who give their time and lives to charities to stop wasting everyone's time.  Maybe insult them on the way out of the store for being such a gullible fool.  But I will say it was very brave and worthwhile of you to write a diary insulting those who do support or work or volunteer for a charity.

    PS:  Happy Thanksgiving and Happy upcoming holidays.

    •  Yup. (6+ / 0-)

      We're fools.

      Christmas is about believing in Santa Claus, imagining your family will actually get along this year, and trying to do what I can to make the world better.

      I do monthly donations so my giving doesn't change a lot except a check to Toys for Tots.

      I try to change the world politically all year. Christmas is about giving what I can. I don't feel guilty if I can't. I don't resent those who do.

      The cynicism -- and the unwillingness to be open to all options, all solutions to problems, all possibilities --  at this site saddens me.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:34:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no idea why this diary pissed me off more (7+ / 0-)

        so than so many other inane diaries.  But the hypocrisy of some on this site sometimes makes me crazy. Just a few weeks ago there was a diary about how a homeless person looking for money made many uncomfortable.  And the diarist made sure to give the person some money while criticizing those that didn't.  The diarist had the amazing ability to read the minds of all the others who didn't help.  Apparently, it was obvious that the richer one was, the less likely they would help.  The comments seemed to agree and many told of how they have helped those in need.  So I think I've figured it out.  If a Dkos member writes of helping others, then it shows how helpful and wonderful all members are and comments will reflect that.  If a Dkos member writes a cynical piece of shit about charities being for suckers, then it shows how intelligent and sucker free members are and comments will reflect that.  

        I'm not willing to discuss what I personally give or don't give to charities.  But I will say that ANYONE who works for or volunteers their time helping others for WHATEVER that cause may be, has earned my respect. To write a diary disrespecting those who would be so dumb as to try and help their fellow person, and for it to garner rec's and positive comments, sadly doesn't surprise me.  Maybe tomorrow someone can write a diary on how it was such a waste to allow a dying child and his family have a moment of joy as a wish was granted.  I personally will look forward to the comments about what a joke it was.  Then the same person will write a diary criticizing some rich prick for not donating enough and the applause will be deafening.    

        •  I wrote a long response, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Radiowalla, taffers

          But then I realized I basically said that I totally agree with you. So I should just say that.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:37:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Respectfully, I don't thing the diary insulted (6+ / 0-)

      anybody. I thought the diary said that the holiday charity campaigns remind us that our society still takes care of the needy (when it does) in the least efficient way possible.

      I don't think the diary was exhorting anybody to stop donating.

      •  UnionMade, I took it the same way... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UnionMade, Dvalkure

        It wasn't until I got down into the diary until I realized that there were all these things I support.  I give a lot - and I don't think about it twice.  I am blessed.  I have a healthy family, we are all housed, we are all fed and by God, they are all loved by their mom.

        But, as a society, there is more to do.  There are too many people (and animals) that are suffering and they DO have to have some way to be safe and be able to grow without having to worry about how in the world they are going to live.

        And, also, too - that is what I was supporting.  The whole idea of supporting others as a Nation.  What we did with Social Security, Medicare, and the ACA!!!  There is still lots more to accomplish.

        Waiting for them to decide that the middle class doesn't have enough cents to vote...

        by Old Woman on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:27:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kinda like politicians at election time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat, Chi

    I sometimes sense that charitable giving at Christmas time is a somewhat meaningless ritual that is more about increasing the status of the giver rather than elevating the recipient of said charity.  A few conservatives I know seem only to fly their compassion flag at Christmas time by organizing toy drives for poor kids, as if toys for kids were to really help those kids in any meaningful way.  Once Christmas time is over there is nary a thought as to the structural mechanisms that make elevating oneself out of poverty difficult.  I asked one conservative acquaintance I knew if he ever did something like tutor kids in mostly minority schools and he looked at me as if were insane and told me he volunteers with the Boy Scouts and that was enough.

    "Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there." Sanai

    by Michi on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 07:38:18 PM PST

  •  so you're a cheapskate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    Why advertise that?

    •  Didn't understand the diary? Or didn't read it? nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Expat Okie, LeftOfYou, Dvalkure

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:23:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes I read it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        He/she wants others to give more to government so he doesn't feel bad about not giving to charity. Local charities do a world of good for people in our communities. I cannot understand his hostility.

        •  Oh ok. Didn't understand it, then. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftOfYou, savannah43, Dvalkure

          The issue is that private charities are not all-encompassing. They have wide gaps through which lots of people fall.

          A government safety net could cover all and guarantee a minimum level of survival food, shelter, clothing.

          The last line is clear:

          we the people, as a nation, should be addressing nationally, comprehensively, reliably, effectively, efficiently, and not through the fickle, and sometimes biased, hand of private charity.
          From higher up:
          But the general fact is that by acting together as a society through the instrumentalities of government, we can better provide for the general welfare of our fellow Americans in need, without arbitrary strings, more reliably, more justly and much more efficiently
          .

          Private charities are also less efficient:

          Charities are typically much less efficient than the government at getting the help needed to those in need. According to a study of the main federal safety net programs by the Center for Budget Priorities and Policies, direct delivery of programs, goods and services to those in need received "more than 90 percent of spending on Medicaid, SNAP, housing vouchers, Supplemental Security Income, school meals and the Earned Income Tax Credit". By contrast, the American Cancer Society spends only 71.2% of its funds to actually deliver programs and services. Christian Relief Services Charity  does a bit better at 83.8%. Habitat for Humanity International does the same, at 83.8%.
          Why should 20-30% of donations go to waste or administration when the federal government can distribute over 90%?   Social Security, for example, only uses 2-3% of the revenues received for administrative purposes, distributing 97% back to recipients. No other private charity matches that. None.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 07:05:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We have charitble giving at work. (0+ / 0-)

      And the people who don't give always have some convoluted reason for not taking part that usually boils down to "me, me, me."

      •  I give money to charity, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dvalkure, Carol in San Antonio

        Most of it on a monthly/recurring basis.

        I despise charitable giving programs at work.

        1. Workers shouldn't have to answer to their employer how they use their paychecks.  They may have obligations that they prefer not to disclose.

        2. Not all deserving charities are included in these programs.

        3. Most programs do bulk transfers of funds. Direct donations are available immediately.

        4. Programs charge middleman fees.

        If you want to do an annual food or toy drive and leave a bin that workers can anonymously drop off something if they wish, that's one thing.

        But if people feel coerced to donate, well, it's hardly "charity," is it?

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:48:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A strong, broad safety net without holes is much (10+ / 0-)

    more effective than private charity. No way around it.

    I'd much rather pay taxes and know that everyone had a decent minimal guaranteed standard of living, than contribute to charities HOPING that each one was even-handed and fair.  I hate that photogenic people with especially tragic stories end up with tons of money WHILE thousands to millions of others starve and freeze and live lives of awful desperation, simply because they don't have media access, aren't pretty, or don't have a "sell-able" story.

    Government safety nets are much preferred. That's why I'm a progressive.

    All that said, yes I give to charities, because that's the system we have, not what I'd like. But that's a poor system.  It isn't much different than the king throwing a few pieces of bread off the castle wall at Christmastime and satisfying himself he was a good "Christian."

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:17:51 PM PST

  •  Bad attitude. (5+ / 0-)

    Sorry, a lot of people in the nonprofit world are doing a lot of good.

    Would it be better if the government were doing a lot of their work? Yeah.

    But that doesn't justify dissing them or expressing hostility toward their efforts.

    •  I spend a lot of time working with local nonprofit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Alice in Florida

      agencies to help them raise money.  They need it badly to supplement the grants and gov't funding that never cover the real costs of service.  
      Fortunately, there are many generous citizens who see the need for homeless shelters and hospice care and library programs, to name a few.  If no one gave, these programs would shut down.

      Look around and see what needs doing.  Most likely you will find a local nonprofit trying valiantly to make a difference.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 09:14:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  charities (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    I give all year...this time of year all calls are politely dismissed, all emails are deleted without reply and all mail is shredded...except for typhoon and local food bank

  •  Feeding the pigeons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, AnnCetera

    While I am glad that there are charities out there helping, and I have seen the good that they have done, there are so many of them, and they are so aggressive, that I feel that I am being harassed and hounded, and that what I do is not appreciated.  

    It's like feeding the pigeons.  You feed one or two, and suddenly, there are hundreds of pigeons flocking around you, and it starts to get scary, and the lesson is -- don't feed the pigeons.  

    I don't mind the public visibility of charities, that I can choose to approach or not approach, but when they are calling my home, or making deals with my employer to pressure employees, including me, to participate, I feel it becomes inappropriate, harassing, even predatory.    And, when there is an undertone of corporate greed and avarice involved, it becomes revolting.

    The bell ringers are not overly aggressive.   They are the least of my concerns.   They don't ring my phone or knock on my door or come into my workplace.  

    One year, my employer made a deal with United Way.   I have many objections to United Way.  I particularly have objection to their support of Boy Scouts, who publicly discriminate against atheists.    My employer solicited donations for United Way, and PUT A BALLOON ON THE CUBE OF EACH PERSON WHO DONATED, both invading our privacy and creating a coercive atmosphere in our workplace.   Whether I donated or not was MY private information, and not to be publicly announced.   It was deeply offensive.   What I do with the salary that I EARN FOR THE WORK THAT I DO, is my own business, and once my employer cuts my check, my employer has no business telling me what I should do with that money.

    I don't always work through a charity.    Some of the ways that I have helped in my community involved taking food to a family that was in need, watching the children of a family that could not afford childcare, giving gas money to a family that was stranded due to lack of money to put gas in their car, or taking in children of a family that was temporarily and suddenly homeless (this has happened twice, now).

    Whatever I do, is because I decided to do it.   It is not done because someone had to come and harassed me to do it.  Aggressive charitable solicitations make me determined NOT to participate.    

    And, there is more going on than just charity.  There is "administration".  There are corporate "partnerships" that involve incredible amounts of tax deductible advertising.   I get sick of having my emotions manipulated in the name of corporate advertising.

    I want to help, and I like to go out and find the way that I WANT to help, and what I don't want, is people ringing my phone, and knocking on my door, and sitting in my office waiting for me when I get to work.    When I'm ready, I'll find them.

    •  I really wish the Do Not Call (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Carol in San Antonio, DFWmom

      law applied to all solicitations for money, including charities and political candidates and advocacy groups. Calls should be allowed for candidates/advocacy groups seeking votes and for polling only.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 01:45:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Much of overhead that charities pay equals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    Jobs.

    Jobs are good.

    I'm the first to point out when a charity has overhead is too high. In fact, I did that in a diary about Heifer International. (I said, it seems to be a  good charity, but wow, that's a lot of overhead, especially for fundraising).

    There's a balance. If you don't want to donate, don't donate. But realize that when we complain and moan that there are no jobs, part of the reason is that donations are down, so non-profit  have laid off staff.  

    More donations mean more fundraising mean more staff means more office space means more office equipment means more staff means more production costs means more staff means more travel means more video conferencing means more computers means more office equipment means more office space means more staff...  And all this extra also means more demand in the local community which means more jobs ...

    So my donations added to other donations make a difference. Yes tax policy matters. But investing in my community matters too.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:56:26 AM PST

    •  It would be nice, though (0+ / 0-)

      if we could have jobs for people to do things other than ask for money. That's the great thing about government, when it functions properly--money is required rather than requested.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 01:48:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What bothers me about charities, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    is that they all seem to be sending money to places overseas, and not to areas of our own nation where people, especially children, are in desperate need too...This is in both the US and Canada...

    Its as if the poor exist only "elsewhere" but not "here".

    I am sick of "So this is Christmas, and what have you done?" playing from the first of November all the way through the end of January and then some...that song makes me want to scream!

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:05:14 AM PST

    •  There are plenty of charities that do work here at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice in Florida

      Home. If you go to charitynavigator you can search for a well regarded charity that does exactly the sort of work you want to support.

      Often small charities do great work and never advertise, so folks never hear about them except via word of mouth/social media.

      The huge international charities that advertise are likely the ones you hear about the most. They have budgets for that sort of advertising. The little guys don't. But they're also doing good --or even better -- works as well.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:54:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not True, Please Reword... (0+ / 0-)
      What bothers me about charities, is that they all seem to be sending money to places overseas, and not to areas of our own nation where people, especially children, are in desperate need too...
      That's a really wide brush you're using to paint a picture that infers ("they all") that charities like your local food pantry or regional food bank or soup kitchen is "sending money [out of the area]."

      Having worked for 25 years in the non-profit charity sector, I know much better than that. Yet, the attitude you show paints all charities as way out of touch with the communities in which they operate.

      Try narrowing your focus, and getting specific.

      Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Jesus

      by paz3 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:21:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may be a broad brush to you, but to me, (0+ / 0-)

        those charities who advertise on TV, the big ones, are the ones showing kids in the third world. Africa, the ME, or South America...what about the kids on the First Nation Reserves? Don't their poverty deserve some of that attention too?

        Why does "Save the Children" (and other major charities) only seem to want to save them elsewhere, but not here?

        I'm very sorry if I have offended you or anyone else with my opinion and thoughts...perhaps I should seek elsewhere those who are open to the thoughts of others and aren't so thin skinned.

        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

        by SaraBeth on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 02:12:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're Just Wrong Here (0+ / 0-)

          Save the Children has worked in this country for many years and continues to do so today.
           http://www.savethechildren.org/...

          So have many of the other large children's charities that also operate overseas that I think you are alluding to, including Child Fund (formerly Christian Children's Fund, the one Sally Struthers did ads for). We have "Sponsored," children through them for many, many years.

          I happen to believe that all children are entitled to things like food, clean water, and medicine regardless of where they live. We give a shamefully small level of aid to countries abroad. Donating to children in another country does not mean ignoring those here-it isn't a contest.

          •  If they do support the kids here... (0+ / 0-)

            why don't they say so and SHOW THEM instead of the children from abroad?  

            And I am not saying ignore those overseas...it just seems to me we (the global we) spend far too much elsewhere when we have a mess of our own to clean up...

            Until we, the richest country in the world, can take care of and lift up our own people from poverty, then perhaps we can and should do it for the world... but I am appalled that so much effort is spread far too thin and our own kids are falling through those cracks...IF as you say these charities are helping our own, then they should SAY SO in their adds... I think far more would donate if they did that.

            "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

            by SaraBeth on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 02:45:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They Do (0+ / 0-)

              I'm sorry but you diminish any point you're trying to make for me when you make statements that simply aren't true, and continue to disbelieve facts provided to you (I assume that's your IF).

              Give to whatever charities you choose to-or don't.

              I will continue to give to causes both globally and locally.

              All people deserve to have their basic wants and needs met. My belief in that does not stop at a particular border.
               

        •  Just Advocating Here (0+ / 0-)
          I'm very sorry if I have offended you or anyone else with my opinion and thoughts...
          You certainly haven't offended me, my slant in responding to your "broad brush" is that of an advocate defending legit charities against stereotypical descriptions, and, by extension, their clients.

          Please try and see that you did say, "...charities..." and "...they all..." in the same sentence, and what that infers.

          Thank you...and I'm sure that your intentions are good.

          Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Jesus

          by paz3 on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 10:45:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There are various sites that rate charities. My (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, AnnCetera, karma5230, Dvalkure

    go-to is charitynavigator.org. I'd urge everyone to check out a charity before you give to make sure it does what it says it does. Wounded Warrior, for example, spends about 57 percent on actual services while spending just over 36 percent on fundraising.

    And while I realize that large charities do need full-time staff and thus will have administrative costs, it's a little disconcerting to see what top administrators for some charities make.

    Again, I'd urge everyone to check out the charities they give to and then make your own decision on whether that charity is using the money it raises wisely or efficiently.

  •  Wow, just wow! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnCetera, LeftOfYou

    I have to tell you the first couple of paragraphs scared the be-jesus out of me!  Bah Humbug is right!!

    After further reading, ahem, I could not agree with you more.  I have been struggling with the 'they are lazy and not working and don't give a damn' attitudes until I am ill.  

    How in the world to bestow this attitude of gratitude, love and help to so many who have not a clue?  I know you are probably singing to the choir here - but, Brother - continue to belt it out.  I am behind you 100%.

    Waiting for them to decide that the middle class doesn't have enough cents to vote...

    by Old Woman on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:09:38 AM PST

  •  I Guess We'd Better Get Used to it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    with our child poverty rate shooting upward thru the roof, charities will have to work even harder to help, and those of us who care will have to donate more.

    "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

    by Superpole on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:35:16 AM PST

  •  We Use the "Thousand and One" Rule (0+ / 0-)

    When you answer the phone, count "a thousand and one." If you don't hear anything, hang-up. It's a robo call.

    I can tell you from our tax returns there's a long list of charities to which we give. We do it on-line for the most part.

  •  Charities don't bother me (5+ / 0-)

    as much as the ever-growing commercialization of the holidays.  Good God, I'm seeing Christmas paraphernalia in stores and lights on houses and decorations in yards, yet it's not even Thanksgiving yet!  Then there are the outrageous Black Friday sales, people falling all over themselves, sometimes even fighting, over those wonderful "deals."  It makes me sick to my stomach.  

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 09:09:45 AM PST

  •  Back when I had a job, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    we had the United Crusade.   Do they still do that?

    People and companies got sick of the constant stream of requests for donations. They set up a county wide organization that would work with businesses to collect payroll deductions for a two week period each year.

     Umbrella organization would sign up all the various charities and determine that they were legitimate and useful for the community and met some standards of efficiency.   Also helped coordinate charities to work together on problems.   Set standards for bookkeeping, etc.  Publicized needs and what could be done to fill them. Allowed charities to focus on doing good, rather than raising money.  

    Some companies would donate employees/managers to work for United group for long periods of time, and pay their salaries, so seasoned administrators would help it run.   It was a way for some companies to retain talent between projects at real work, broaden experience for some, connect with the community for other business reasons.  

    Workers would only get solicited for a two week period for contributions, which could be given direct, or set up as a weekly payroll deduction that offered a steady, plannable income stream for charities so they could set up sustainable programs.    Reached a lot of people that weren't connected to churches or other charitable organizations.   Let people know where they could turn if they needed help.  

    People could look at the 'big picture' of charitable work in their areas.   Some coordination with governments.  Charities that were somewhat 'hidden' due to social stigma like mental health, family assistance, battered women, could get needed funding.  

    Employees could specify which charity got their donation, or specify which one would not get funding from their particular contribution depending on their attitude.

    Of course, there was a lot of politics and criticisms and so forth,  and it has been implemented differently in different regions, but overall I thought the idea was pretty sound.  

     

    •  United Way (0+ / 0-)

      What you describe is how the local chapters of United Way operate today. I know that well, because during my first job (of two) in food banking it was my responsibility to make our food bank's presentation in front of the local United Way board each year.

      Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Jesus

      by paz3 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:26:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So agree with you. Not hating them so much... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida, LeftOfYou

    but feeling that charities would be so less necessary in a nation where inequality were better addressed within the overall system.

    So that's where I put my time and effort...in improving the big picture with activism to reduce inequality.

  •  Love the way this started (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, Dvalkure
    Like swallows returning to Capistrano, they're back.
    Downright poetic.  :)

    Absolutely agree with you, left. I won't give to the Salvation Army because that organization discriminates against my brothers and sisters in the GLBT community.

    I did just give to Toys for Tots and I will also give to our local Children's Hospital.

    But you're so right--why is all this necessary?  Why don't we have a living wage in this country?  That would be better than a million Santas.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:01:25 PM PST

  •  The thing that gets me mad is (3+ / 0-)

    the decorated coffee can sitting at the checkout counter of the pharmacy, for Little Angelica.

    Little Angelica (cute toddler pic) was diagnosed with A Very Rare Disease and has battled it all her sweet little life, and now she needs care from Big Hospital In Another State. Won't you help her get the care she needs? Thanks And God Bless You!!!!

    In a humane society, there'd be no need for that can.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 03:39:45 PM PST

  •  worst is the music (0+ / 0-)

    that is on the radio or subscribed commercial services.

    When I was in a store with the commercial services, I had to listen to the same music over and over again.  Just how many times do you need to hear Little Drummer Boy.

    Now I have a radio at work.  As soon as the music starts, the station get changed.

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 05:17:51 PM PST

  •  what is government welfare programs (0+ / 0-)

    except forced charity? The one aspect of welfare that i hate is that it hides and covers up desperate poverty rather than to compel society to do better

    watch this:
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    starting at 44:00

    this British kid has been insulated from the harsh realities of the world because the U.K. has largely covered up the problem with council houses.

  •  OK. So you don't like giving money to charities. (0+ / 0-)

    I get it. But some of us do. I never pass a SA pot without putting some money in. And it makes me happy. Peace.

    "For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it." - President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013.

    by surfermom on Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 11:34:34 PM PST

  •  I totally agree... (0+ / 0-)

    I also hate the "celebrity telethons" and auctions (of used celebrity wares) that unfortunately follow every large scale natural disaster...Its actually a bit offensive (to me).  I give a decent amount to charity (and my family) through out the year.  If celebrities want to be of help following a disaster, give directly and stop trying to sell me your used junk.

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