Friday, December 5, 2008

A rain drop in the ocean.

It seems like every time I leave the house there is an opportunity to give to charity. Salvation Army buckets get my coins, $1 or 2 donations added onto my grocery bill, toy donations in the bins at discount stores, weekly and monthly food donations to the school food pantry, the list goes on.
And I don't mind it really. I like to do a small part somehow.

But, after thinking about how I don't budget for groceries or anything else I'm wondering how much (or how little) I am frittering away of our own funds. Hubby's job is solid right now but it might not always be the case.
And talking to my Mom on the phone while I grocery shopped I mentioned how part of my cart was going directly to the nearby food pantry. Of course, I got the standard lecture about how "welfare people" mostly need to just get off of their butts and work and many of them are doing better than her and just expect a handout. She continued on about how we don't know what may happen with the economy and I need to save that for my own family. It was hard to wrestle with that argument but my standard retort is always, "Yes, but what if they have hungry children?" And I'm sure that may the be the case in some instances but I can't imagine that the majority of people going to food banks are there because they don't want to work. My husband's parents seem to have that same view (although never espoused in quite that way). I think it's just the older generation being brought up with an "Earn what you Need" ethic. And while I don't think that's wrong, I think it's a bit short sighted and stingy. Lest I leave you with a poor impression of my parental sets, let me say that they are all very giving with people that they know.
After talking to my Mom, I briefly considered keeping the one bag I designated for donation. And then I drove to the food pantry anyway.

But, I do think I need to designate a set portion of our funds instead of willy nilly here and there.
There are so many places and people that need help, it feels overwhelming.

Any ideas, guys?


Tenille said...

I so know what you mean. It's hard.

One thing I like to keep in mind is that sometimes a trip to the food pantry is enough to keep a family from needing to apply for wel-fare or food stamps and becoming a more permanent tax expense.

lizzie said...

It is hard but compared to some we have so much dont we ? I give a donation to charity at Christmas and my husband gives to his charity - he likes the Sally Army . I dont put food into the bins at the grocery store. I think I might do so next week - I thought your article was thoughtful. The food banks are running out of food due to the situation in the country so maybe we should give as much as we can this month.

Amy said...

This year Meijer is selling food pantry gift cards, so instead of buying an assembled bag at the store for them to deliver or assembling one yourself to deliver, you just buy the card and they pool it and donate all the food/money directly to the pantries. I like the idea of saving the gas money of delivery and making the process more efficient. I also donate online to food banks... I figure they know what they need more than I do.

Agreed on the opinions of those who do not face hunger themselves. Whether a person is lazy or not, they still need to eat. I think giving to a reputable organization instead of handouts to people begging is a wise use of charity if one doubts the sincerity of the recipient.