Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Charity - A Sticky Subject

"Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity." Albert Camus

Lately it seems everybody who wants a piece of me thinks I'll be more inclined to support their cause if they give me free stick-on address labels. Yet the world is growing daily more electronic and paperless, from email to bill paying to tax filing.

On the other hand, the US Postal Service still handles huge volumes of mail, so I guess somebody's sticking on all those flag-draped, ribbon-bedecked, symbol-covered labels. But it's not me.

Well, hold on. I do use the ones with the Breast Cancer pink ribbons. But I'd donate whether I got labels or not. My sister, my best friend, too many aunts and cousins have had breast cancer. It's high on my list of Personal Charities.

And that brings me to my point. Despite all the mass-produced junk we get from charities -and maybe in part because of it- we're becoming jaded, and far less generous. We're forgetting that charity is supposed to be personal.

Most charity these days is Big Business, and the more we tighten our wallets, the harder they battle for those dwindling dollars. My parents live in Boca, practically Ground Zero for charity balls, dinners, luncheons and golf tournaments. Forget address labels, this is the Big Time; we're talking twin martini glasses with miniature vodka bottles, sterling picture frames, Coach luggage tags, cristal bud vases ... all sent as invitations to charity events.

I got less bling at my wedding than my mother bags during an average week in the name of Sweet Charity. But for her own personal cause, The Foundation Fighting Blindness (she sits on the national board), she's determined that the money go to the Charity, not the collateral materials.

My mother's virtually blind from Macular Degeneration, it's hereditary, her mother had it, my sisters and I will get it, and she's passionately devoted to finding a cure for all diseases causing blindness. And she's equally passionate about Breast Cancer (her daugher, among others) and Heart Disease (both her parents) awareness and research.

She's set the standard for my attitude toward giving: ignore the pitch, go with your gut. Based on what you can afford to give, choose those charities that have meaning to your life and your loved ones, and then give a little more.

What are my Personal Charities?
The Foundation Fighting Blindness ... Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation ... American Heart Association ... MADD ... Reading Is Fundamental ... PBS.

There are others, but what's important is that my support comes only from my mind and my heart.

Because every time I get a new batch of address labels, I'm reminded that my mother can't see them. And that too many of my loved ones aren't around any more to receive the letters I'm supposed to stick them on.



Blogger The Wissy said...

Well done. I really like your site.

2:01 PM  

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