I worked closely with a deaf man for nearly fifteen years, back in the 80s and
90s, and got pretty good at sign language -- good enough that I can do a
convincing imitation of being deaf. I'm a little out of practice now, so if I
ever encounter a panhandler who actually knows ASL, he'll know I'm faking, but
it's worked every time so far. They give up quickly and walk on to the next
The first time I tried this, I told my deaf friend about it the next day. He
laughed his ass off.
It's also fun, if you are fluent in French or some other
language. Spanish, not so useful. Too many folks know
Spanish. Russian or Czech is good. I wonder if that works on
other panhandlers like traffic cops?
That's another one of the things I will do to them and of course they
will wander off mumbling about crazy deaf people. Of course, I don't
know sign language and if I encountered a genuine deaf person, they
would think I was signing in a foreign language. *snicker*
Nothing new about that around the Dallas Tx area, its been going on
for years and in most cases is not a woman who approaches you. On
several occasions I have been approached by more than one person at a
time. I just tell them sorry but I don't carry cash and I don't.
Yeah, we get that at our office too, though thankfully I haven't been
put through the wringer like you have. I always felt these 'adopt a
family' things were more for the benefit of the donors, to get a warm
fuzzy feeling, and less for the donees, who in a couple of weeks will be
right back where they started. I saw the listings for the families to be
adopted, and judging from the clothes sizes and requested items alone,
they ain't starving or between a rock and hard place for basic
neccessities. Besides, I have my own under-employed and semi-functional
siblings to play safety net to. I prefer to donate my money to actual
As to the Red-X folks- 'Stuff' is actually more trouble than it is worth
to them, especially in post-disaster situations. Sorting, de-crapping,
containerizing, and then re-shipping all that stuff costs a fortune.
Same for for food drives. Much more bang for the buck for the
organization and the people they are trying to help, to put together
cash to get new goods and supplies in pallet lots, drop-shipped from the
vendor directly to where it is needed. Around here, the charities do
hold the coat/new toy drives for local distribution, and have a
furniture/household goods lending closet for families that suffer fires,
or abused women setting up new households and such, but they have
strongly de-emphasised 'stuff' donations for other activities.
I prefer to give cash to charities where I know it will be working and doing
some good. Salvation Army is one, and a local nursing home is another. They
have particular projects funded by donations where you can see the results.
Yes, Salvation Army is just one of those groups where you never here
about anyone getting a $20 Million salary (they don't). They are a big
organization but behave as if they were local.
Another interesting charity is Heifer International. It was started by a
farmers. Their mission is to get animals and the proper training to
manage them into the hands of folks who can't afford them (teach a
person to fish...). They are also well rated for good use of donations
with most of the money going to the actual charitable work.
I remember reading about some of the goofy things charitable
organizations have done in Africa. One group donated tractors
but no fuel, oil or spare parts. The villagers used the spark
plugs for earrings and the wiring for necklaces and various
parts of the tractors to decorate their huts. Another group
donated tons of powdered milk. They didn't know that the adults
couldn't digest the stuff so it wound up being used to paint
their homes. One European group sent condoms because of the
high birth rate and the AIDS epidemic. The condoms were used as
balloons because they were too small for their intended purpose.
Here at home I've done work for a small Episcopal church, not
because I was a member who shared their faith but because I liked
the nice people there. This tiny church had a soup kitchen and
would feed anyone who walked through the door. The church would
also give clothing to those in need. Well, crack heads broke in
and stole all the food and the people who received clothing
would not wash it, they would throw it away and come back for
more. I'm afraid I've developed a "Don't Feed The Bears" attitude
as I get older.
Sure and if you check into the organization I posted you will find that
they don't do what you described.
Life is filled with plenty of reasons to allow us to rationalize why we
shouldn't do something "I saw someone in a car accident on route 5 so I
won't go that way anymore", I went into that store over there five years
ago and had to wait at the checkout a long time so I have never gone
back" and on and on.
Clearly there are folks who have an entitlement mentality but clearly
there are a lot of folks who don't.
They appear to be really good folks and that's refreshing into todays
world where there is some sort of scam around every corner. It just
plain hard to sort it all out. We give aid to these third world
countries and it winds up in the bank account of the rulers. It's so
I think you mentioned two essential points:
1) In many cases, poor is a lifestyle. Give them a pile of
whatever, and they will be poor again in a couple weeks
2) In the US, many of our "poor" have plenty of cash flow,
they just make bad choices.
I do know a couple families from church who have been in
hard times. The economy is rough, and they are out of work.
Folks like that, I do support. Working, but not quite making
Yep. The folks relocated from Katrina to Houston tried to resume their
lifestyle. Fortunately, they killed each other off with great regularity.
Those that didn't managed to run into a new obstacle: The men in blue.
"Whatcha means I can't be moseyin' thru my 'hood with a malt and a toke?"
On the other hand, those that relocated to Billings or Fort Wayne or Wichita
had new experiences too: "You mean all I gots to do is stand here and make
Slurpies? And I gets PAID for it? Damn! Thaz cool, man!"
Hi guys, I wrote in a couple of weeks ago about my gas oven dying and
with your help, it works great now, It needed a new igniter, so thanks
I really want to weigh in on this charity giving thread. In September,
I retired after 20 years as director of my local food pantry. From
experience I would NEVER in a million years give cash to a client,
because you can't control where or on whom it will be spent. Drugs,
alcohol, and cigarettes come to mind. Don't get me wrong, some of my
former clients were salt of the earth, wonderful people, but I found
that the ones that go to every charity and get put on lots of lists for
help are actually taking you for fools.
We used to give out toys too, and one year, when my husband was helping
out at the food pantry, a young woman's car was so full of items from
multiple charities that he couldn't fit anything else in her car, and
she got really pissed at him. He refused to give her our items and told
her to come in and talk to the "boss" (me). Needless to say, she left
and never returned.
One year a family signed up for 8 turkey baskets from all over town
under different names, so we wouldn't catch on. Each family member had
a different last name, but because I got really friendly with one of
them, I figured it out, but it was too late for that year.
This time of year everyone comes out of the closet to donate to food
pantries and storage becomes a bad problem, where do we store
everything? Sometimes that's why we request cash instead, so we can buy
perishables like eggs, cheese, butter and meats.
I am now in charge of the free clothing area associated with my food
pantry. People get really mad at me when in December, in New Hampshire,
I won't take shorts, bathing suits, or other summer things, I have no
storage. It's not because I don't appreciate your efforts at cleaning
your closets, bagging the stuff, and lugging it over to me, but where
the hell do I put it till summer?? A woman called me every name in the
book when I told her that I couldn't take a pick-up truck full of size 2
clothes. I told her that my average client was probably a size 14 or
larger, she was livid. And don't get me started on the filthy stuff
some people bring in, covered with dog/cat hair, smelling like a dirty
ashtray. We don't have a washing machine, what do I do with that stuff,
I can't put it on the racks and shelves with the clean stuff.
Find a LOCAL food pantry, maybe at your place of worship, ask them what
they need, actual canned goods, or cash. If you want, ask them how
their clients are screened for eligibility. We had to follow strict
government guidelines. When you are comfortable with their answers,
give to your heart's content and trust them to do what's right. Most of
the time we get it right and you'd be proud.
Some food pantries use cash to help clients with rent (not us), in which
case the money goes directly to the landlord, not the client.
Give only clean, in season clothing.
I would never give cash directly to a client.
Best tip: If funds are tight for you at Christmas, don't give now at
all. The food pantries are usually chock-a-block full already at this
time of year. Go get a 2010 calendar, flip to April or July or Sept.
and write yourself a note to donate to a local charity. That's when
they are desperately low on food and funds and will flip cartwheels for
I hope you all have a great Holiday Season, whether you are on the
giving or receiving end.
Thank you, for the voice of experience and wisdom. You are
exactly correct. I think that many people (and nearly all
adults) have a story of outrage, when it comes to charity
and poor people. Here is the one that comes to my mind.
I was seated at the round table, my small church
congregation was having the leaders conference, before
services started. The phone rang, and Mark went to answer.
It was for Gwen, the Relief Society president. She came
back, fuming, and really obviously upset.
What happened was that one of the welfare women in the
branch had called. Told (not asked) Gwen that she, Gwen,
needed to come over to her house to write a welfare food
order. Gwen replied that welfare lady lived only a couple
blocks from the chpael, and she could walk over. They would
write the order and discuss the needs after services. As
church was about to start in a few minutes. The welfare lady
cranked up the heat, and started yelling, and insisting.
Aparently it had to be done before services, or during
services (taking Gwen away from church ) because welfare
lady was leaving in a litle while to take the boys on the
city busy to see the Ice Follies (paid admission, you
realize), and she woudl not be home after church.
I think that is the biggest problem with churchians such as yourself.
[you have proven over and over on this forum that you neither a large
or small 'C' Christian].
When I give something to someone I give it of my own free will and I
do so because it makes me feel good to do it. If I get a thanks, I
feel good about the thanks, but it has nothing to do with how I feel
The Jews have a system of 'levels' of giving. I don't remember the
details, per se, but it goes something like;
1- you know who is receiving your gift & they know you gave it.
2- you know who is getting it- but they don't know the benefactor
3- neither know who is givng/getting
I think there are some more-
The top of the heap was when you were able to give anonymously to
someone and they didn't even know they were receiving charity.
I think they nailed it. [ I'm not Jewish- I'm agnostic]
If you don't want to give- then don't. But all you holier-than-thou
hypocrites that keep going on about how the poor don't appreciate how
wonderful you are can kiss my ass on a busy street corner.
Actually there are (classically) thirteen levels of charity, but you've
described the essence.
It's a bit different from what most (Christians) understand charity to be.
In the Christian tradition, charity imposes a "duty" on the part of the
giver. In the Jewish tradition, charity is a "right" claimed by the poor*.
Both have the same effect of transferring resources from the more affluent
to the less fortunate, but the difference has significant effects.
Consider the church or synagogue itself: In both instances, the institution
is in the position of depending on the donations of the membership. In the
Christian church, the offering plate is passed in each service and there is
continued emphasis on the duty of the parishioners to "tithe." In the
synagogue, membership is (usually) based on your tax return and dues are
assessed to each family unit. If you don't pay your dues, you don't get in
(at least for the holidays). It's that simple.
This dichotomy carries over into westerm legal theory also: Every "right" a
person is guaranteed by law imposes a "duty" on someone else. If, for
example, I have a right to government-funded health care (or anything else),
you have a duty to provide it.
In practice, it comes down to who nags you: The church or the schnorrer**.
* This "right" is taken, principally, from the admonition to not reap the
corners of your field so the poor may glean therefrom.
** Schnorrer: Yiddish for 'begger' or 'sponger.' By Jewish law, you are not
allowed to refuse a hand-out.
The way I have always looked at it, if all my bills are paid and I have
extra money, then I can afford to be giving some away. And that's what I say
anytime someone asks me for money to donate to something. "My bills are not
all paid, so I can't afford to be giving money away."
That's not "Bah Humbug" in my book, it is called being realistic.
Charity begins at home!
(Speaking of this, the U.S. government actually borrows money to give
billions of dollars in financial aid to other countries! This would be like
me taking out a $5,000.00 loan so I could give that money to my neighbor so
they could remodel their home - while at the time I owed hundreds of
thousands of dollars on my credit cards! Totally nuts!)
"casey" wrote in message
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