Sunday, October 04, 2009

Moddern day beggars

I've been quite blessed in my life with enough to purchase food, clothing, housing, and the other basic necessities usually without worrying where the next dollar or dime was coming from. And unless the recession gets much worse, it looks like we just might be able to survive 15 to 20 years of retirement before having to get a job again. So we've been equally interested in sharing our bounty with those less fortunate. We have done that both the easy way and what I think is a much more difficult way.

The easy way, of course, is through something like a tithe. It's easy because you agree to a certain percentage of your net or gross and pay that amount - no questions asked, no feedback reports expected or given. Reminders are given over the pulpit and in the lessons and written material of the church. But they tend to be minimal even subtle.

The above photo represents one aspect of the way to give - to charitable and non-profit agencies. Just for the fun of it, I stopped sending anything in to these other charities over a six-month period. But I continued to collect the evidence of their soliciting, their collective hands out, you might say. I've missed collecting some as I either forgot to save the request or could not envision our supporting that cause.

It seems a harsh word to call these organizations beggars and characterize their activity as begging. But isn't that exactly what they are and what they're doing. Other than checking out sthe reliability, character, and principles of the company based on their self-reporting, we usually know nothing about a cause we're supporting. An NPR or CNN report on such an organizatsioan mean a lifeline, rescuoing them or it can be death if suspect conditions exist.

But the chance of such a report is pretty minimal so it's left to us, the donor to make some of the hard decisions. I suspect that will always be difficult.


  1. My stack of mail would be as thick as yours if I kept them, too. I hate thinking my donations are going to the cost of all this mail we receive on a monthly basis. But I feel the need to contribute regularly to some that hit close to home like the American Diabetes Association, Huntsman Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, and Primary Childrens Hospital; and others occasionally. Sure hope it's used wisely. Nothing could make Lynda's family happier than to see new and better ways coping with type 1 diabetes.

  2. No, Jessica, we don't need the ones you get with our names. What we can't figure out are the ones we get for Tiffany when she NEVER lived here.

    Lee, I think there's asignificant difference in that tithing has a double screen for information. A donor knows neither what causes are being supported nor how much support is going there. On the other hand, we are assured that nothing is being used for the administration expenses.