In Brief—This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to what we will give Uncle Charlie or the kids to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Well, let’s initiate a change this year and make it a real season of giving.
“Happy Holidays” instead of “Bah, Humbug!”—
I’m not Scrooge! Really!
As I recall Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, after spending a harrowing night with spirits who showed him the error of his ways, once-miserly Ebenezer Scrooge gave the Cratchit family a fat turkey to make their holiday season merry and lived out his life as a generous man. I am proposing the same for the rest of us.
I have told my family that they should contribute a sum to one or more of several organizations rather than give me a regular gift. I have more stuff than I will ever use. I have suggested they make a contribution to two medical/health care organizations, one justice-related and one journalistic organization: Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood, ACLU and Truthout. That’s my choice, but I propose that readers make a charitable donation to the organization(s) they favor. Their choice.
More Bang for the Buck—
Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU rank very high in the amount of charitable receipts going to the services they provide. Truthout is an alternative to the mainstream media that provides the facts to counter the bias of the mainstream media that frequently ignore the facts that citizens need to know. Put more plainly, the organizations I suggest are honest in spending contributed money for those in need or that act in your interest.
Red Cross, by contrast, is less than honest and, as valuable as it sometimes is in major disasters, spends way too much on administration and conceals costs in creative ways. Put plainly, caveat emptor, beware.
To make sure that your charitable giving goes to those in need, I suggest you do the following: into your browser type the name of the organization to which you want to give, follow that name with the words “administrative costs, donations” and then CLICK on “Charity Navigator Rating” to see where the organization stands.
You may want your donation to go to a small or unlisted organization. I suggest you ask the organization for a statement of their administrative costs. The important thing is to make sure your donation goes to those in need rather than into someone’s pocket.
The homeless are looking for a safe roof over their heads and a hot meal. There are reliable organizations that can assist them. The financially pressed and needy folks need a place to live, decent food and a job. You can’t give them that, but several charitable organizations can provide assistance. Look for the best and make a donation rather than giving a tie to Uncle Charlie.
Nicholas Kristof of the Times has suggested that donations be made to some charities that he believes are worthy. For me, the four organizations suggested are my choices of worthy causes. Readers may want to consider Kristof’s choices.
You might be interested in giving the gift of reading to a child as suggested by Frank Bruni of the Times. Check it out.
Some Deserve a Regular Gift—
Neglected children should receive a regular gift—a doll or a stuffed toy or a child’s book—because they can’t appreciate a donation to some organization. They want something tangible that they can play with, that they can hug, that they can look at or read. Some reliable groups are there to give that present to some child who doesn’t get one. Help them.
Make this year and every year a time when you contribute where it counts. Make this a real Happy Holiday for folks in need.