12/07/2005

a drop in the bucket

It's Christmas time which means long lines at department stores, crowded malls, busy streets, and the sound of bells ringing. I'm not talking about the type of bells that ring when an angel gets her wings. I'm speaking of the person standing outside your favorite store ringing a bell with a red bucket near by, taking donations. You know the ones I'm speaking of. They're the reason you walk a bit out of your way to get to the door that's not directly in their line of sight. I'm guilty too, I've gone out of my way to avoid that "ring, ring, ring." I'm not sure why I avoid them other than the obvious fact, I'm selfish. I don't like to admit that, heck, most days I'd deny that. But what other reason could there be for not dropping a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket? Am I poor, not most days. Do I hate helping those less fortunate? Not really, I think SA is a good organization. Am I afraid they'll judge me for not giving enough? No, I doubt they'd judge anyone. Then why can't I walk right up to that bucket and drop a few coins in? Why can't I use the money that I spend every morning on that cup of coffee from Caribou and force myself to drink the free coffee at work? I could drink water instead of pop, $.75, I could eat a bagel from home instead of buying one, $1.75, I could read the newspaper online instead of spending $.75 for a paper that lays on my desk untouched then magically makes it to the recycle bin nicely folded as if it's never been read. How about I make a sandwich at home, just for a day, and save $8. If I just stopped being so selfish I could donate at least $11 every day. Wow, I spend a lot of money on myself. I'm not saying I'm not worth it, I am. But this is Christmas, the time of giving, can I put my needs aside for one month? I'm going to try...after all it's just a drop in the bucket. A little generosity goes a long long way. How about you, do you hear any angels getting their wings?

16 Comments:

  1. Paul said...
    I give money once. Then when they ask me the second, third, fourth and fifth time I start to think they've forgotten my face. And if they forget who I am, then why should I give any more money?

    I say that they should put these people through facial recognition classes so they can remember who you are the next time they see you in front of a store.

    If every time the guy in front of Rite Aid said, "Hey Paul Good to see you again!".. Cha-CHING! More money.

    But until then, stop hounding me.
    Sky said...
    There has been many occassions I just empty my coins from my wallet into the little red container but at the same time I don't want to do it everytime I go to the store. This could really get me on a tangent about everyone that stands outside of the store for money..but I won't. SA does a lot of good things...I will be taking boxes of donations up there before the end of the year. That will be my donation this year.
    NML said...
    I saw an ad for a charity called Childline and something really touched me and I'm going to do a donation once a month with it being deducted from my bank account. I find it easier to do that than put money in buckets.
    WDKY said...
    Brilliant... ask a question, answer it yourself, and Bob's your Uncle (& Fanny's your aunt) :-)

    Good idea, NWC... and the truth is we could all do more, but it seems to need to be in our faces before we realise. That's what's wrong, IMO.
    Kelly said...
    Now that I live in the burbs I don't avoid the bellringers because they are pretty much just outside the grocery store. I give my dollar on the way out. When I lived and worked in the city, they were on every block! If I gave a dollar to each one that would be an awful lot of money.
    Annalis said...
    Excellent reminder of how much the little things you buy each day can add up to so much. I will certainly be giving...
    Caterpillar said...
    I feel the same way you do, NWC. I want to give, and I should give, but for some reason I avoid the bell-ringers. I think it's cause I feel bad just giving change, like they'll judge me for not giving dollars. But I think you're right, they don't judge us. And if everyone gave just one penny, it would add up rather quickly.

    You've inspired me, and next time I pass a bell-ringer, I'll put something in. Thank you!
    Neil said...
    I don't usually give charity to those asking for it on the street. I just don't feel comfortable with the concept, and a lot of times I don't trust people who are taking money (not the Salvation Army, of course). I prefer sending it in other ways. But now I just feel guilty!
    k o w said...
    I'm a Red Cross volunteer and constantly help out people with change, some food and the such. People have actually told me I help others more than I do myself.When asked why I do it I just say "because it feels good."

    I know alot of people only help out around this time of year but if we all do it year round imagine the difference we'd all make.

    Boy that sounded preachy.
    NewYorkMoments said...
    In NYC you get tons of change everyday. I just stick the change from my pockets in teh buckets. Otherwise it just clutters up my apartment anyway.
    ladylongfellow said...
    I don't know about you, but I avoid charities now becasue I'm bombarded by them. The salvation army, the red cross, the purple heart, catholic ministries, jewish american center, fire/ambulance/police funds etc...etc. I'm sure you can name several more.

    I have always donated and I always will, I'm also a volunteer -but I prefer to do it on my terms. I donate food, services, cash, clothing, furniture for shelters, etc -granted I take my tax deductions for it too.

    These days though, I would rather give 5 bucks to the homeless guy, on the street then drop it in the bucket of the salvation army. Or I would rather buy the guy lunch, get him some new clothes, etc. At least you know the homeless guy is getting the money and will use 100%it. I bet the salvation army can't say 80% actually goes where intended. Most charities can't say that. Save the children, guilty. The Red Cross, quilty. Unicef, guilty...guilty! The bigger, the more corrupt.

    Non-profit organizations have become big business. We can't blame the government or the President -we can only blame the people/workers in the organizations. The lower on the totem pole the person is, the less blame to be given. Greed is even in non-profit organizations, imagine that. Believe me as an accountant I understand overhead to run even a non-profit business but a lot of charitable expenditures border on illegality for personal gain.
    Wenchy said...
    You have certainly planted the seed....
    Shannon said...
    I certainly heard an angel get hers now.. :)

    I like that idea networkchic...

    happy holidays
    kimmyk said...
    It's amazing what we spend money on and do we really need to do that?

    We're selfish ....

    I'll completely take inventory and start cutting back and giving more. Thanks NWC for making me think.....
    Jaimie said...
    Once, when I was about 11, I dropped some money in a Salvation Army bucket. Unknowingly, a photographer took my picture and it ended up in the Santa Monica newspaper with some really nice caption. I didn't understand what the big deal was at the time, but now I do-since most people ignore the bucket.

    I still donate, but I haven't yet this year (maybe because I haven't really shopped yet).
    Shannon said...
    I dont think its necessarily selfishness in the extreme... maybe just selfcenteredness... which I guess is still self... self self self...

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