Damnation or Donation

Months ago, I made a huge mistake.

You know, when you make a mistake, but you had the best of intentions?  When after the deal is done, you say, ‘Oh fuck, this is not going to end well.’  Yeah, that’s where I was.

*DISCLAIMER:  I am totally for charities.  I am totally for helping organizations that do good deeds.  I’m sure this particular group does wonderful deeds all the time.  PLEASE DO NOT EGG MY HOUSE!

I was sorting my mail one day and there was a plump envelope in the mix.  I flipped it over and read the return address, ‘St. Jude’s Hospital’.  Upon opening the letter, I found a smorgasbord of address labels.  No one, in the history of my postal experiences (ha ha, postal experiences) has ever given me address labels.  I was so psyched!

I read their letter, and of course, felt bad for everyone that may need treatment from their facility.  Now, I will admit, that animal charities are the ones that get the best of me.  I remind myself though, from time to time that if the world runs out of healthy people, the cute little dogs and cats Sarah McLachlan sings about will have nowhere to live.  Sometimes, I must reach out and help my own species.  And they sent me free address labels! 

I pulled out my checkbook and donated twenty dollars.  I sealed the envelope, used one of my new address labels, and sent it on its way.  I buzzed with that good deed feeling all the way to the mailbox.

A week later, I walked in the house with a hand full of bills.  An envelope caught my attention that appeared to be a handwritten message on it.  I pulled it out and couldn’t believe my eyes.

‘CAN’T YOU SPARE ANOTHER TEN DOLLARS?’

What is this?  I tore the envelope open and it was from St. Jude’s!  I just gave them twenty dollars!  Granted, I know it’s not going to cure the world of cancer, but it will atleast buy a dozen rolls of gauze to help with bandaging around that place.  I have bills!  I can’t hand over my whole paycheck to these people!  Oh the audacity!  And now, my mailman probably thinks I’m a cheap ass! 

“That Moore girl, she must be one tight ass.  St. Jude’s had to write her back for some more money.”

I showed it to the beau when he got home.  “And look!  They sent me more address labels!  And a note pad!  My twenty dollars has really gone to buying notepads!  And you see this!  It’s a picture of Remy, who still needs my help because my twenty dollars wouldn’t cover her treatment.  She’s going to die now because I can’t spare another ten dollars.”

“Give me that.”  The beau took the envelope and threw it in the trash. 

“They need to work on their marketing.  If they really wanted to get money from me, they’d send me pictures of cute dogs.”

One week later:

Image

(from stjude.org)

“Are you kidding me?  They are in my head!”

The beau calmy took the letter and filed it in the trashcan.

For weeks, I would receive letters about how important my donations were, and how they needed my help.  The world was coming to an end and unless I got off my ass and started draining my savings account, it would be all my fault that children have cancer.  My fault.  They could have saved themselves some ink if they just sent letters that said:

‘Melanie Moore:

DEATH.

Your fault.

Money now.

St. Jude’s.’

And as a Virgo, I always feel that I haven’t done enough.  I need to do more.

I was in the gas station the other week, when the cashier asked, ‘Would you like to donate to St. Jude’s today?  You get to put your name on one of these. “

I shook my head in disbelief, they had found me at the gas station.  The beau maybe able to cull out the letters at home, but he can’t save me when I’m alone at Exxon.

“How much?”

“It’s not a set amount.  You pick how much you want to donate.”

I let out a tortured laugh, “I suppose they would like my week’s pay.”

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing.  I’ll do a dollar.  I’m sure they contact me by mail if they need more.”

It was that day, that I decided that I am going to make a plan.  I’m going to pick my charities and stick to it.  Charities that send me five pounds of mail a week with freebies and goodies probably need to reevaluate how their system works.  I want to feel like my money is helping someone in need, not buying cute stickers and notepads for everyone in the next town over.

And many of you may say I’m going to hell.  Well, that’s fine if that is what you think.  One day though, you will have enough address labels to pave your driveway and you will reflect back on this moment and say, ‘Mel was right, what in the hell am I going to do with all these notepads?’

Here’s to ogranizations I have donated to that have never sent me a guilt trip in the mail about my donation, ones I would gladly donate to again.

YouthAIDS

St. Mary’s Home For Disabled Children

 

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5 thoughts on “Damnation or Donation

  1. My husband is like you. Every day we get a handful of charities—all good ones—asking for money…money…MORE MONEY! Sometimes address stickers, tablets, a nickel, greeting cards. My husband gets furious, like “What more do they want from us?” I throw them away. I believe they are computer-generated letters and they don’t know whether I’ve sent $10 or a million dollars. The computer just keeps spitting out mail to you, once they have your address. Hope this makes you feel better.

  2. I’m always puzzled by the charities that advertise on television in England – three-minute long advertisements shown all day between every programme on all commercial channels, asking desperately for money to save Africa. Surely if only they spent half of the money that they spend on advertisements on actually saving Africa then they wouldn’t need to advertise constantly and ineffectually for money with which to save Africa?

    I have recently lost a charity. I was doing my regular bulk buy in the local charity shop when I overheard the manager hissing to a friend about how she gives her brother-in-law the best donations for free to sell in his (commercial, non-charity) shop… The look on her face when I quietly stepped out from behind the book section was classic, as will be the look on her face when my letters to the national management and police arrive.

    Question is though, where now do I buy my peace of mind from? Wibble. 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s awful! Could you imagine donating things and then finding them at the commercial shop? I have donated things to our local charity thift stores over the years and always laugh that I never see my stuff on the shelf. I have always been sure that my taste is so hideous they had just been tossing my stuff to the curb! Now it makes me wonder!

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