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Old 05-17-2009, 06:10 AM   #1
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Location: Galena, IL
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This is a subject I think of many times over the years (I'm 54). In my life, I've known many women who make a career out of "charity". I've known people in the upper echelons of big time charities, and they made more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. Volunteering has often left me feeling used and abused. So I formulated a theory: Make your corner of the world a better place. I've operated on that for a long time now. Don't give a thousand dollars to a nationally known charity that pays someone a thousand dollars a day to manage it, and sends the money to someone who you have no clue as to who is using it for what purpose. Help your neighbor. What did you do today to make your immediate community a better place to live? Without taking money, without taking a tax deduction.


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Old 05-17-2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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I know what you mean, Claire ... charity begins at home. I will donate to the Salvation Army, Red Cross or United Way - but those are the only national charities. I am very wary about local charities that call up asking for donations - those are usually guilty of expenses exceeding what goes to the intended recipients - we had a case of a local charity here that was running 90% expenses so only 10-cents out of every dollar was going to help anyone other than the folks running the so-called charity.

I do donate to local food banks - sometimes money, sometimes food ... it depends on the food bank and what their needs are.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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We donate leftover food from catering events (food that has been cooked and refrigerated, not put out on the line). The church offers a free supper every Tuesday night, so it comes in handy for them. Before donating to national charities, I like to see their balance sheet. It's amazing what some of them spend on "administration", while others rely more on volunteers.
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:11 AM   #4
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Other than a little change dumped in the Salvation Army Pots during the holidays, and a check to St. Jude's Children Hospital in Memphis on occasion..I give nothing to big charitable organizations...I prefer to give directly to those in need...100% of my dollars go there/to them... not some small percentage left over after administration expenses. There are opportunities everywhere!! All one needs to do is look, listen and ask!
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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I, too, am a big one for donating to my local food bank. I prefer to bring food (actually, I call and ask what they are in need of; sometimes they can get funding for food but not for hygene items, so I buy tooth brushes, soap, etc). After realizing that acquaintances of mine were making six figures working for the Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, the United Way, etc, I quit giving to the larger organizations. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they are worth it; however, I chose not to pay anyone's salary who makes that much more than I'll ever see in my life. I never, and I do mean never give money to telephone solicitors. You have no idea where it is going.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:02 AM   #6
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This year I decided to put an herb garden in for my blind friend. I just finished that yesterday. One of her care givers had decided to get the patio ready for entertaining this summer. So I told her I'd add some herbs to the garden.

For years now, I've planted on a friend's late husband's grave. She hasn't been able to do it, so she buys the flowering plants, and hubby and I go out with her and plant dear George a little garden around his headstone. I've never met George (a Lutheran minister), but feel I know him.

I try to bring food to any family I know when one is hospitalized. I read to the aforementioned blind friend twice a week. I have a friend who loves to cook, especially to make soup, and her only child just flew the nest. She continues to make home-made soups, and brings them to our Friday hang-out to give to our shut-in friends. When I cook "large" meals (you know what I mean, those things like spaghetti sauce and chili and soups and stews), I always package some of the extra and bring it to our shut-in friends. A few minutes in the nukulator and they have a home-cooked dinner.

My mother had always had a thing about dolls. When I lived nearby for a few years, she learned of my "bring something for the food bank" Christmas party. She started collecting dolls from yard sales. She'd wash them, dress them, take care of their hair (even if it meant buying new hair for them). When we dropped off the food bank stuff, she'd arranged for someone to pick up the dolls. One time Mom found two dolls that looked alike and were of a certain ethnic look. She dressed them identically and put them out as twins. The charity that collected them actually found a pair of twin girls of the same background as the dolls' appearance!

I'm not trying to toot my own horn, just putting ideas out there for those of you don't know where to start, and believe me, a lot of times people don't know where to start; it is easier to just write a check. There is nothing wrong about donating money to charities, just, as others have said, sometimes you need to look around. Making a little more stew, chili, soup, beans, etc, and bringing it to someone for whom cooking is too much can mean a lot. If you throw a big party every year, make it a collection spot for your local food bank. There are thousands of little ways to make your little corner of the world a better place.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:40 AM   #7
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We used to donate to the United Way until I found out that they were abusing the donations.Too many people with their hands in the till.
Tattoo removals for gang bangers.That's just a bit much.They chose that lifestyle.If they enjoyed getting branded like a cow,they can pay to have that disgusting thing removed.

If your with me that's great. If not. Get out of my way.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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i'm not in a postiion to give major cash, & i probably wouldn't, cause i know some of those statistics. sad for those who really need $$$. :(

i do drop coffee or enough for a cofee by to the obviously needy while at school, & you can seperate who wants drugs or booze by simply asking them. they'ye generally kind to me, as i take a minute to talk instead of looking away. them i won't give to. i can't. & if i see them with cigarettes, deal's done, pocketbook is closed. peple with okay jobs can't buy those sometimes!

i love your givings, claire, you're very generous & thoughtful.

at school, we donate plenty, so it's great to know local needy persons indulge in gourmet food!

i believe that life would not be complete sans comfy 'ol tee-shirts, the Golden Girls, and the color pink
& rock on, PITTSBURGH-
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