Donating, what is it really?

@mommyboo (13198)
United States
June 23, 2008 2:47am CST
This is a topic that is near and dear to me, but you may be surprised as to why. Forgive me if I get lengthy, as there is a rant involved. There are so many 'needy' groups out there. The local church food bank needs food. They need clothing. But the battered womens' shelter needs both too. At Christmas time, there are angel trees, toys for tots, meals for families, and the salvation army rings their bells. As a child, I donated some things and also donated money, but you must remember, to a child with a 25 cent allowance, this meant I put a quarter in the salvation army bucket or I gave a few outgrown but still useful toys to the goodwill. As an adult, I have always donated items to the Goodwill. I never seem to have time or motivation to set up a yard sale or sell on ebay. I also donate canned food and unperishables during food drives when I can (nice excuse to weed out the pantry and buy bulk when I see things that are extremely cheap). At Christmas every year I have picked children to get gifts for off the giving trees. The first year I did it I was pregnant, so I gave one gift from me, and one gift from my 1 month from due daughter. I did the same thing the following years, choosing kids roughly about the same age. This year we'll give to 4 year olds =) Well, here is the rant that was coming. Several years ago on another discussion forum a woman I considered a friend totally came unglued on the lot of us in her thread. While I now realize she may have been post partum or hormonal or something, it does not excuse any of the ugly things she said. Now when *I* donate, as I figure most people do, it comes from my surplus so to speak. Donations I give are in the form of something that I no longer need that is still useful to another person, or money or time that I can afford to give. This means that my family and I are taken care of before the donation happens. This only makes sense. Anyway, this woman was totally bashing people and accusing them (and me!) of not caring about homeless and poverty stricken people, and all we were saying is that if WE can't survive, there is no reason WE should be giving what we don't have to somebody else! I had friends on there who were seriously trying to decide about NOT buying some gifts in order to make sure they had enough of a budget for groceries and heat, and they were working extra hours or getting a second job so as to not fall behind on bills because holidays get expensive! What do you think? Shouldn't donating just be what you actually can, from anything extra you may have? I did tell this gal that if she felt so compelled to donate, she could donate whatever she wanted, but to expect the same from us, no way, no how.
2 people like this
5 responses
@34momma (13895)
• United States
23 Jun 08
you should give what you have. you don't have to go out and get a second job so you can donate. i don't think trying to make others feel bad about doing something nice is teh way to go about anything. you do what you do from your heart. rather that be one can of beans, or a shopping spree at Toys R Us. you do what you want to do and can do. that is the real way to give
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Thank you. =) A gift is something given without strings attached, and it's important for it to remain that way. I think a lot of people are 'entitled' these days or want to create rules for how or why people give. That defeats the purpose of giving.
1 person likes this
@34momma (13895)
• United States
24 Jun 08
that's right. give for the act of giving. not because you want a pat on the back. or because now that you gave you want to tell that person what to do with your gift. i was explaining to my son last week. i gave this homeless guy a dollar. and my son said why would you give him money he is only going to get drunk with it. I told him, what he does with the money is his business. the only thing i need do is give when i can. the rest is non of my business
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Easy to answer - you are right. Donations / Charity is a matter for each person to determine and is based upon what you can afford to provide or give. One of the things I have always hated is the concept of forced "tithing". By the time I pay taxes, pay for health care, pay for monthly medicines that I have to have, pay mortage, pay utilities, and pay into retirement so that I am not a burden to my own children .... well what is left is discretionary. That is what I will give from. The forced Tithing concept is that I should give 10% of the before...my answer is "I think not tinkerbell, you don't need a new roof as badly as I need a roof". I love the idea of giving. There are many ways in which each of us can give back to our communities or the greater community. Finding these avenues and doing what we are able makes for a better world. I think it is the small things ultimately that count. I have my favorite charities and while I can't give much I give every month and have it taken directly from my checking account. St Judes Childrens Doctors without Borders Special Olympics Every three months I do a closet check and gather all my clothing items that I know I won't wear again and I take them to the Battered Womans Shelter. This is a special one for me as I escaped from an abusive marriage many years ago and I know what it is like to run with nothing. Starting over is nearly impossible and if you have to try to find a job and have nothing to wear to a interview it is so defeating. I also periodically will do a linens and kitchen cleaning and take miscellaneous household items to the womans shelter as well. My local grocery store always does drives for charities like MS, Cancer, or other stuff. I always add $1 every time I shop. My pet store always does a drive for the local Pet Shelter to keep strays alive. I always add $1 every time I shop. I volunteer my time in a program called Victims Impact. I speak across the state of Texas in Federal and State prisons, as well as, Juvenile systems and Juvenile Probation groups. As the victim of a violent crime I am part of the program that attempts to teach empathy and help violent criminals put a face to victims. This is a rough one for me but my philosophy is if just one in each group hears me and makes a change I am good with that. Once a year my family gathers all their unused household items and makes the Goodwill run. There are other things we do periodically such as buying bulk food for the food bank, buying bulk pet food for the shelters. It really comes down to what you can do with the time and money that you have. Not what others expect you to do.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I wanted to mention too that I am always willing to do things for friends too, and often that's where a lot of my giving and time goes. It's hard for me to understand why big donation advocates don't consider friends in our circle as part of the group that might benefit. I try to do little things if I can, because it's better to do a bunch of little things rather than do nothing at all because you cannot do one or two BIG things. I used to do a lot of volunteering, at my kids' schools, at a horse rescue ranch, etc. I do volunteer my time and skills as part of my local MOMS Club, but this is more a labor of love for me - as this club is responsible for the support system and close friends that I have here. I want nothing more but to help it continue to be a great social support for other moms, as it was for me.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
23 Jun 08
OH! I agree about the whole tithing thing. I don't know how some people manage it, because if MY budget were that tight, I likely would not be tithing any more just so I would be able to stop worrying about losing my house every month.
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
2 Aug 08
Of course we should donate only after our basic needs are taken care of. It makes no sense any other way. How can someone give what they don't have? Or what sense does it make to donate something that we need? I'm certainly not talking about living in luxury first and think about donating affter, but we , normal people, give what we can and what we will not be needing after giving. Sometimes we can give more, sometimes less, but we're still helping. There are small things that we can do without - I remember my kids saving the money that grandparents gave them for candies to give , but that is different. The lady you mention was out of line. She is certainly free to do as she wishes but has no right to try to manipulate others in doing the same or judge others for the way they do it.
@mimico (3619)
• Philippines
24 Jun 08
I agree with you mommyboo. I'm not much of a donater because most of the time I also have to struggle with paying bills. In fact, my dream is to be rich enough to be able to give to charity huge sums of money. To add to your frustrations, I also hate it when people donate used stuff and ugly stuff to charities. Charities aren't garbage dump sites you know! Anyway, it's good that you brought up this topic. Once in a while it's nice to talk about other stuff aside from making money and myLot.
@Wizzywig (7859)
23 Jun 08
Surely, the whole point about donations is that they are voluntary? No-one has the right to guilt-trip others into giving away what they can't afford!