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Teaching Charity

The kids have a complicated allowance structure. It started when the oldest started clamoring for every Lego on the face of the planet. Meanwhile, his parents are more the save-and-save-and -save-again types. Half for spending and half for saving, we figured as we started our little lesson on fiscal responsibility. But then we threw in a twist. "Do you want some of your allowance to go to tzedakah (charity in Hebrew)?" we asked.

He did. Flash forward a year and a half and we now have two boys with a total of six banks. Keeping it all straight is not an easy chore. But it's all worth it if they retain the values we're teaching.

Giving some of the charity money was easy when the oldest was in preschool. The school ran charity projects every few months in which the kids would see where their money was going. They'd put a coin or two into a can every Friday. When the project ended, they'd see some kind of result of their gift. But teaching charity isn't really the job or expectation at public elementary schools.

And so, the first-grader and his brother now have rather heavy charity banks. But where to give? And how to do it in a way that the boys see how fortunate they are? Three options came into my head as we discussed it earlier this week:

1. The Food Pantry: A story earlier this week in The Post about food banks working to mete out healthier foods, sparked our chat about how many people can't afford food and what the banks do.

2. The Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure: A very good friend is undergoing chemotherapy right now. So I raised the idea of giving the money to find a cure for cancer.

3. Buy animals to help families feed themselves in third-world countries.

Their choice? The food bank. If you're looking for other ways to engage your kids in charity, Charity Navigator suggests sorting and donating gently used old clothes, buying a toy for a less-fortunate child and volunteering at nursing homes and in environmental cleanups and -- for older kids -- tutoring or mentoring younger kids.

How do you instill charity in your kids?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 1, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Child Development , Elementary Schoolers , Teens , Tweens
Previous: Mister Rogers and the End of an Era (Maybe) | Next: 10 Ways for Busy Parents to Manage Households

Comments


What are the stats on childhood charity continuing into adulthood?

Posted by: Curious | August 1, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

What are the stats on childhood charity continuing into adulthood?

Posted by: Curious | August 1, 2008 8:54 AM

Wow! If there aren't any stats, then it must not have any value.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Been there, done this, on the OB, produced by Stacey.

Posted by: Another retread | August 1, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

We are longtime backers of the Heifer Project, which is #3. Have contributed to HPI since before having kids, but it's a good lesson for them now, as they understand not to take for granted having food and clothing.

Posted by: MrAtoZ | August 1, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for teaching kids to be charitable ... Heifer Project is a great organization to contribute to. I also think it's a great idea to teach older kids to go the extra mile and write/e-mail the appropriate policy makers about issues that need addressing. Political activism goes hand in hand with charity.

Posted by: Tomboy at Heart | August 1, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

My daughter's school has adopted an inner city Baltimore elementary school with a high percentage of homeless students. We provide these children with uniforms and school supplies in the early fall, Food Bank donations in the late fall, hats, coats, and mittens in the winter, toys and books at the holidays, and sports equipment in the spring.
We also have clothes drives for abused women, animal shelter donations, Komen support, and autism awareness. Plus, each grade is required to spearhead at least one community service project every year.

Posted by: 21117 | August 1, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

If poor people quit smoking, boozing, and blowing their cash on lottery tickets, the line to the food pantry would be half as long.

Posted by: hand out | August 1, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

My parents were (and my wife and I are) the "save and save again type." Consequently growing up we never had any money concerns, thanks to my Dad's steady, well paying government job and my parents' frugality. We usually bought used cars, seldom took vacations except to see family, used hand me down clothes, etc. And now my parents are multi-millionaires, and my wife and I are on our way.

Anyway, I remember one Christmas the local youth sports league/civic association was putting together and distributing food baskets to needy families. So my Dad signed himself up, and brought my brothers and I along to help.

I remember a couple stops in the housing projects delivering food to families with the largest, fanciest televisions I had ever seen. Plus their kids had the best and latest video game systems. And here I was playing on a Commodore 64 and watching our family's 19" TV.

Obviously, years later I understand the wisdom and the deeper meaning; but those certainly were some mixed messages for a six year old.

Posted by: CS Dad | August 1, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey trolls,
There's an interesting article on trolls on the NYT web site titled Malwebolence. Love to hear your thoughts/reactions.

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

CS Dad

"So my Dad signed himself up, and brought my brothers and I along to help."

Grammar Police!

"Obviously, years later I understand the wisdom and the deeper meaning; but those certainly were some mixed messages for a six year old."

What is your point? Six year olds don't know jack? There's a shocker!

Posted by: Yawn | August 1, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"We usually bought used cars, seldom took vacations except to see family, used hand me down clothes, etc. And now my parents are multi-millionaires, and my wife and I are on our way."

Oh joy a big bank account and little enjoyment or life experiences.Probably pilfer some sugar packets at the restaurant to save on your food costs. UGG. Dying with a lot of money is the ultimate failure.

Posted by: More cheap people | August 1, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Anne, if you're too lazy to provide us a link, don't expect for us trolls to give you a comment.

Posted by: us trolls | August 1, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

On topic:
I find it works better to engage my children in charitable activities than to have them give donations. Money is still too abstract but my older one (11) is really proud to contribute her time and effort. Younger one is still ho-hum about it.

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Trolls,
I'm just technologically ignorant. I don't trust myself to create a link and I figure you'll know better than I how to get there. Sorry!

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Trolls,
I'm just technologically ignorant. I don't trust myself to create a link and I figure you'll know better than I how to get there. Sorry!

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 10:06 AM

Moron!

Posted by: Troll groupie | August 1, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I found out the hard way that pledging money to a charity telemarketer is on the same lines of paying some bumpkin to call me at dinner time and dunn me for more money again, again, and again.

Posted by: Iwazza Chump | August 1, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I too have to agree with the mixed messages that CS Dad received and I wasn't even 6.

For several years, I spearheaded a church project to provide a large family with Christmas gifts through FACETS. The goal was to provide each family member with an article of clothing, a toy (or other kind of splurgy time item) and a practical/educational item such as books, watch, or whatever. Each item was supposed to cost about 25$ and each family member received 3 gifts.

Two separate years, I sponsored a small family on my own. The first year was pretty good and the family actually made out like a bandit because we discovered the young boy liked computer games. My husband donated a whole bunch of his old computer games to the boy in addition to his three gifts.

But the final year in which I participated in both the church project and my own personal giving, I was a little disillusioned by the requests made by the families. I forget all of the requests from the two families but I remember someone at church commenting that one of the requests was for a 150$ item and my family requested games for the XBOX. These aren't anywhere near the 25$ limit the organization suggests for the gifts. And I had a hard time swallowing that I was purchasing gifts for a family that could afford things I couldn't even afford - an XBOX? I kept telling myself that I didn't know their family circumstances. Perhaps they were relatively well off before death or sickness suddenly occurred. Regardless... I ended up a little disillusioned and dropped out of the program.

Posted by: Billie | August 1, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"And now my parents are multi-millionaires, and my wife and I are on our way."

Ugh. I'd rather hear atb brag about her glorious boobs and flat stomach than have to listen to someone on the web purport to be a multi-millionaire. Truly financially secure people don't talk like this. Fakes do.

Posted by: Aretha | August 1, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

That's a funny story.

"I kept telling myself that I didn't know their family circumstances."

You're a better person than me, that's for sure. I would tell myself that I understand the circumstances all too well.

Getting back to the topic, as I think Anne mentioned, the best charity can also be time and attention.

Children and dogs visiting nursing homes is never a bad idea.

Posted by: CS Dad to Billie | August 1, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"And now my parents are multi-millionaires, and my wife and I are on our way."

Don't you start out by being a millionaire then work your way up to being a multi-mullionaire?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately..., trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.

From p. 6, "Malwebolence"
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

Posted by: truer words were never spoken | August 1, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Billie

"I kept telling myself that I didn't know their family circumstances. Perhaps they were relatively well off before death or sickness suddenly occurred. Regardless... I ended up a little disillusioned and dropped out of the program."

What is your point?

Posted by: Yawn | August 1, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately, trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.

Posted by: to yawn | August 1, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

CS Dad to Billie

"You're a better person than me, that's for sure. I would tell myself that I understand the circumstances all too well."

No question. Billie is a far, far better person than you.

Posted by: zZZZ | August 1, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"I'd rather hear atb brag about her glorious boobs and flat stomach than have to listen to someone on the web purport to be a multi-millionaire."

The average middle class citizen in his 30s will need to have nearly 2 mil socked away by retirement to maintain his standard of living. Reaching millionaire status is no longer something to brag about.

Posted by: money is getting cheaper and cheaper | August 1, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Billie

" I forget all of the requests from the two families but I remember someone at church commenting that one of the requests was for a 150$ item and my family requested games for the XBOX. These aren't anywhere near the 25$ limit the organization suggests for the gifts. And I had a hard time swallowing that I was purchasing gifts for a family that could afford things I couldn't even afford - an XBOX? I kept telling myself that I didn't know their family circumstances."

That's right. You don't know the family circumstances. How did the families qualify for assistance? Is it so strange that kids or even adults would ask for expensive stuff for Christmas? Wait 'till your kids draw up their Christmas lists!!

If you can't afford something - don't give.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I would like to hear what my bff's Donna and Cecilia have to say! I like to have my children do charitable things. It brings tears to my eyes when they contribute to a charity.

Posted by: Nancy | August 1, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

What are these here trolls y'all keep a-talkin' bout? Is they good eatin' or just varmits? Would they bees a-makin' good troll flambeau?

Either way, I can get my best rifle and blast a few of 'em!

Posted by: Jed Clampett | August 1, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

i don't know if the first poster meant to be snarky or not but i too would be curious to know if those lessons on charity stick. my grandmother grew up dirt poor irish in a small town in pa. her mother was quite charitable. when my grandmother talked about her own mother's charity she, i wouldn't say sneered exactly, but she was certainly unkind about it. my own mother was always giving money to charity. i seemed to have inherited my grandmother's self centeredness. i don't give nearly as much as she did.

Posted by: quark | August 1, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"i don't give nearly as much as she did."

Quark, you make up for it by paying a hell of a lot more taxes than your grandparents ever did.

Posted by: taxes, my charitable contribution | August 1, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Anon at 10:41:

I could afford to give what FACETS sets out as guidelines for the purchasing of gifts. That was the reason that I requested a family of a particular size - so I could afford their gifts. If I had of wanted to spend/could afford more money on a charity project, I would have requested a larger family. I am surprised that the monetary guidelines were not told to the families. They certainly knew to request gifts in the three categories.

If they had of known the monetary guidelines given out, they should have known that requesting an item 6 times the recommendations was inappropriate and would not be fulfilled - which it was not. I did give the games to my family as it was the only suggestion given by the teenagers but I ended up purchasing ones that were pre-owned as they were the only ones that fell near the guidelines at that time.

Luckily our kids don't seem to be into drawing up gift lists but I suppose it will just be a matter of time. I do remember drawing up gift lists when I was little and I remember price being one of the things that was looked at when the item was placed on the list. Even as a child, I understood our family economics and knew that expensive gifts wouldn't be finding their way to the tree. And given our current situation, the kids are well aware (even at 6) that money is tight in both families. I am happy to say that last Christmas was very successful in the kids eyes despite the fact that we couldn't afford a very luxurious Christmas (roughly about Facet's guidelines).

Posted by: Billie | August 1, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

There is an angel tree at the YMCA I belong to at Christmas time. They have a program for kids "at risk." If the staff does a good job of coaching the kids then they ask for things that are within my affordablity zone. If not you see requests for $150 items.

I don't begrudge them for wanting expensive things. Everybody wants those things and they're human.

I'm partial to the Heifer Project for a charity. The stories are always so uplifting. Who would think that a guinea pig could change someone's life.

To address the topic at hand. I feel the best way to inspire charity in your children is to demonstrate the behavior yourself. Make sure that your children see you be charitable. That means: treating people equitably, paying a fair wage to your helpers, giving people you encounter in daily life the benefit of a doubt, taking the time to question stereotypes.

As the saying goes: charity begins at home.

Posted by: RoseG | August 1, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Does giving money to beggars on the street count as charity?
Do people give to beggars?

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Billie

"If they had of known the monetary guidelines given out, they should have known that requesting an item 6 times the recommendations was inappropriate and would not be fulfilled - which it was not."

What are you fussing about? The families that didn't follow the rules got screwed. Isn't that what usually happens in life? What more do you want? A medal and a parade? Sheesh.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Charity is for suckers! Let them get a job.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

When can kids start volunteering? I would love to start something with my son when he's young and hope he continues it throughout his life.

Posted by: MD | August 1, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Do people give to beggars?"

What most of them need is a swift kick in the seat of their pants.

Posted by: Bigfoot | August 1, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank god; and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue." -- LAPD Chief William Bratton on why the city doesn't need paparazzi-limiting laws.

Posted by: Quote of the Month! | August 1, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Ultimately, trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.

Posted by: you know who you are | August 1, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I used to enjoy picking out a child's ticket from the Salvation Army's Christmas Angel tree at the mall and buying at least one toy and one full outfit for him or her. There were plenty of tags to choose from, and I loved buying something a little more than the child asked for. If a child wanted a doll, I would sometimes buy extra sets of clothes for it, or a second doll so the child could maybe invite a friend over to play dolls. In the past several years, however, it's taken an hour or more of searching through the tags to find one that isn't a request for the most expensive new video game system out there for a child who is only a few months old. I still participate, taking the time to search for the real wishes of children who might otherwise get little to nothing for Christmas, but it's hard not to be cynical when such a large portion of requests are clearly from greedy, selfish parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ultimately, the world will be a better place when you stop plagiarizing and attribute your quotes.

Posted by: to: you know who you are | August 1, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ultimately..., trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.

From p. 6, "Malwebolence"
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

Posted by: truer words were never spoken | August 1, 2008 10:24 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

My DD has always had a charitable heart - growing up the daughter of a minister in a small urban church (with a large homeless/projects living contingent that drifted in and out) she saw urban blight and poverty in a very real way. Nothing like holding the tiny newborn baby of a teenage mother only a few years older than you, and watching her and her mother (a former prostitute who still talked about her life openly) standing in line with the congregation for a potluck to drive home the fact that people are all the same, except for their choices in life.

She also gives a lot of time and some money to Heifer (which is headquartered here in Little Rock, AR). We have events for them at church regularly, and the kids do egg hunts (with eggs full of change) at Easter, 'ark drives' in the fall and sell handmade crafts they make in Sunday school at Christmastime. All the money goes to Heifer, and the kids really see the Heifer Project as 'their' charity. Who knew a discussion of why a goat is so important could be the centerpiece of the children's hour? :-)

Charity is vital. When you see what a small gift can do for someone that has nothing, your kids realize that they aren't the center of the universe. They also learn that their parents may or may not be able to afford all the newest stuff, but even if they can't it doesn't mean you're poor - it just means you're less well off than some, but still better off than most in the world. I wish more kids saw that.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 1, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

MD - I started by dragging the kids with me when I was volunteering (where appropriate). Now they are getting old enough to help.

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"I still participate, taking the time to search for the real wishes of children who might otherwise get little to nothing for Christmas, but it's hard not to be cynical when such a large portion of requests are clearly from greedy, selfish parents."

Does the Salvation Army know what is going on with these parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Billie: my first reaction would have been that if things were that bad off for them- they could sell the xbox and get some money rather than ask for games for it.

Like my husband's cousin's nephew can hardly support himself, living in girlfriend's basement with a kid about a year old. He says the parents are about to kick them out. Okay, so i said: is SHE working (knowing he's hardly making anything). I was told - she works part time (also, hardly making anything). Then *I* said: um, well, they could both work full time (they both work retail) and then have no child care expenses - and then they'd never see each other, but ya know, sometimes you don't have luxuries - and you don't get to choose.

They (husband's cousins) are very upset about the situation - but really, the kid has no sense. I said: well, why isn't he in school? He's really looking for that 'get rich quick' scheme. Unlikely for a 21 YO with a kid who has no college education.

Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Ultimately, trolling will stop only when its audience stops taking trolls seriously.

How many times will this person keep posting this? We heard you the first time, and the second. Move on - nothing to read here.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

OTOH - OT :

My son's preschool would collect tzedakah on fridays, and I would typically forget to give him some coins. :(
We try to remember on Friday nights to put some money in there, but it's not easy. And we try to remember to give him something for religious school, but again, not easy.

We got one of those piggy banks from our bank (save, spend, invest, charity) and I don't know where they are. But the kids do have piggy banks in their rooms - they get loose change from time to time but we've never gotten anything out of them. When we do, I'm going to encourage them to give some money to others. We'll discuss who at the time. My older one keeps telling me he's saving for things he wants - and that's great - and when he has the money, we're going to encourage him to give some away.

Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

They (husband's cousins) are very upset about the situation - but really, the kid has no sense. I said: well, why isn't he in school? He's really looking for that 'get rich quick' scheme. Unlikely for a 21 YO with a kid who has no college education.

Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:14 PM

Mind your own business.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Are piggy banks Kosher?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

You teach your children charity by showing them. Charity begins in the home, being kind, donating clothes, toys, food, and volunteering. Show your children that the world is much larger than what is happening at their school or in their neighborhood. Teach them to be citizens of the world not just citizens of their cirlce of friends.

Posted by: leemaher66 | August 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Move on - nothing to read here.

Posted by: | August 1, 2008 12:17 PM

Who made you the blog police officer?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I did. Got a problem with that? I bet you are the same person who posted "Mind your own business" at 12:21 too. Just like to see your words in print?

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I would back up anything "Me" has to say. And I am the sheriff!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | August 1, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again there Sheriff...

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

No question about the U.S & charity. Americans are very generous, but there is a PECKING ORDER as to whom is deserving.

Own your truth.

Posted by: Nothing new under the sun | August 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Just like to see your words in print?

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 12:31 PM

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

as to whom is deserving.

Ouch!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | August 1, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I did some fundraising for a local organization - we'd call people who had given in the past etc. During an economic downturn, many people would say they couldn't give. So we were instructed to ask those people if they themselves would need help from the organization.

In Judaism - what is taught is that everyone should give, no matter what they have. And if you can't give, then things are such that you need to take. There is no shame in taking, people give so that people can take.

In any event, my kid's 6 and I'm thinking we need to start doing stuff with him. Like taking him to the local organization and making some food - that gets delivered to those who can't get out (elderly, those who are sick, etc). He is old enough. And/or go to a soup kitchen. We talk with him all the time about giving to others, or how others may not have what he has, etc. It's so difficult to teach, when we have as much as we do (it's not 'that' much, but seriously, we don't want for much, okay, I'd like to go on nice vacations... :).

Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

It's so difficult to teach, when we have as much as we do (it's not 'that' much, but seriously, we don't want for much, okay, I'd like to go on nice vacations... :).


Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:41 PM

While your sister's kids are growing up in poverty & abuse and you don't lift a finger to help them!

Nitwit! I'm embarassed that you are a Jew!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

to the anon: Um, growing up in poverty? They choose to spend their money the way they do - my BIL will tell anyone who will listen how much he paid for everything, how he HAD to pay $1 million for his house - and how he makes SOOOOO much money, etc.

So, if they are wanting for anything, it's their own fault. Same as for those who scream poverty, but have a flat screen TV, or cable, or cell phones, or....whatever....

Posted by: atlmom | August 1, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Does the Salvation Army know what is going on with these parents?"

I've pointed it out to the staff before, but they just shrug it off. From the sheer number of requests for expensive gifts which are inappropriate for the age of the child, I can't imagine no one has noticed. It's my guess that, being the Salvation Army, they don't want to tell people what constitutes an appropriate wish.

I admit that I'm sometimes tempted to pick one of those tickets and buy things for the baby, instead, but the cynicism leads me to believe it's more worth my time to give to a deserving child than to risk having the parents return the child's gifts for the money with which to feed their selfish habits.

I don't have children yet, but this has been a cherished tradition of mine, and I hope that by the time I do have kids, we'll still be able to find that rare honest wish from a child among the host of parental greediness.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I will let it slide.

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 1:00 PM

As if we cared about a blowhard like you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

1:04 - so much negativity coming from people today. You all must be so very unhappy. I hope things get better for you.

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Easy, fun and makes a real difference:
-Call food bank of your choice for list of wanted items
-print flyers for your neighborhood with sunday afternoon pick date, good to be left in bags at the end of each driveway.
-a week ahead of date, hook flyers onto mailboxes. We use candy canes at the holidays as a good mailbox hook. The kids to do this.
-I drive around, the kids collect and load the car. (Elf hats and holiday music are fun)
- Our neighborhood has 70+ houses. It takes less than 20 minutes to pick up over 500 lbs of donations and we drop it off at the food bank early Monday AM.
-

Posted by: Elizabeth | August 1, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey - 1:13 - there is no need to yell. We can all read.

Posted by: Fed up too | August 1, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth

"-print flyers for your neighborhood with sunday afternoon pick date, good to be left in bags at the end of each driveway. "

Food wouldn't last 5 minutes in my driveway.

"-a week ahead of date, hook flyers onto mailboxes. We use candy canes at the holidays as a good mailbox hook. The kids to do this."

Candy canes attract rodents.

But thanks for the chuckles!

Posted by: Friday fun | August 1, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Animal shelters always need newspapers and gently used towels, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Instead of screaming, you might want to send Stacey an email. The link to her address is on the left top of the page. She all but ignores any posting complained about here, but deletes almost anything complained about via email.

Which means, unless someone complains to her directly about the "Jew" insult above, it will be there next week.

Or you can keep cluttering up the blog with allcaps rants. Your choice.

Posted by: armeniaally | August 1, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Focus, people. Focus. The problems are from the troll, not those who want it removed.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

One might say that all anon postings are trolls. Just because you don't agree doen't make someone a troll.

Posted by: Trolls | August 1, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If it looks like a troll, walks like a troll, and talks like a troll... yep, it's a troll.

Posted by: Not all anon postings are created equal | August 1, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Is 'On Parenting' dying?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You must be more specific in your definition. To me your 1:40 posting is troll-like in it's tone.

Posted by: Trolls | August 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Lordy, I hope so.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

To me your 1:40 posting is troll-like in it's tone.

Posted by: Trolls | August 1, 2008 1:41 PM

It's not your decision.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

So no comments from the trolls about whether you're really as pitiable and cruel as the New York Times makes you out to be?

Posted by: anne | August 1, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

1:43 said: It's not your decision.

Unless you are the WaPo it isn't yours either.

Posted by: Another | August 1, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

1:43 said: It's not your decision.

Unless you are the WaPo it isn't yours either.

Posted by: Another | August 1, 2008 1:46 PM

But it is my decision to alert the WaPo to the troll-carp on the blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Go for it then. Why do you feel the need to tell us what you are doing? Just do it. Do you need someone to hold your hand? Applaud your pitiable efforts?

Posted by: Another | August 1, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

But it is my decision to alert the WaPo to the troll-carp on the blog.

Posted by: | August 1, 2008 1:50 PM

If that's your goal, then keep it out of the comments section and send Stacey a direct email. *BAM* Problem solved.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Our church sponsors a group called Appalachia Service Project (www.asphome.org) and sends groups of teens and adults to areas in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee to help families who live in abject poverty in those rural areas. The kids experience hands-on service up close and personal. None of that 'drop off a box of macaroni' stuff. You'd be surprised there are actually some people in our country who do not own an XBox or playstation! Oh, the horrors! And some don't even go to sleep=away camp! Can you believe that?

A co-worker and 17 people from her church left this week to take three trucks full of school clothes, school supplies, blankets, grooming supplies and baby supplies to the Pikeville, KY area where many coal miners are out of work. The poverty in some areas of the good old US of A is unbelievable. Hard to believe some people can't afford soap and shampoo. I'm all for helping my fellow Americans who are in dire need before sending money out of the country to ungrateful foreigners.

Posted by: TGIF | August 1, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Go for it then. Why do you feel the need to tell us what you are doing? Just do it. Do you need someone to hold your hand? Applaud your pitiable efforts?

Posted by: Another | August 1, 2008 1:54 PM

Consider it done. Outta here.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where's food stamp girl today?

Posted by: I hope Laura shows up | August 1, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

How do you know if they are ungrateful before you you give?

I'm glad you deemed the ASP recipients worthy of your gift. Now you might want to look at your heart and mind and determine whether you are half the person you think you are.

If your major priority in giving is to get something back - a thank you, a good feeling about yourself, an admission ticket into Heaven - you are giving for the wrong reasons.

Give because you want to give. Not because you seek gratitude, glory, penance or anything else. It's. Not. All. About. You.

Posted by: What twaddle | August 1, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

If you "give because you want to give" you're still giving in order fulfill your own wants. How is that really any different than seeking "gratitude" or "glory." Those are just specific wants.

Do humans have free will?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

1:40, yes OP is dying. Check out the snarky comment from Twaddle. I bet she just wrote a big check to pay for her kid's private school tuition. And.Stop.Putting.A.Period.Between.Every. Word. That. Is. So. Damned. Annoying. I'll be you're the 'pot, meet kettle' witch.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

TGIF

"sends groups of teens and adults to areas in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee to"

Those areas have been poor since the Stone Age. What else is new?

"baby supplies to the Pikeville, KY area where many coal miners are out of work. "

Kentucky coal miners out of work! There's a shocker!! Who'd have thunk it?

"The poverty in some areas of the good old US of A is unbelievable."

Um, people who can't stop popping out babies they can't afford to raise tend to be poor.

" Hard to believe some people can't afford soap and shampoo. I'm all for helping my fellow Americans who are in dire need before sending money out of the country to ungrateful foreigners.

Again, when they are grateful enough to stop the breeding, they won't be so poor.

Posted by: Huh? | August 1, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Huh at 2:21 -- The same can be said for the drug addicts and welfare leeches in our cities. And for those obese people who get free handouts from the food banks.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I can see it now - a scale and body fat measuring device in front of the soup kitchens and food banks.

Seriously though,I saw a person who is addicted to food on tv. She said that it is so much harder to lose weight than quit smoking or drugs or drinking because you have to eat to stay alive. You cannot avoid it. Cigs, drugs and alcohol can be avoided.

Posted by: Me | August 1, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The blog is dead, and what we are seeing right now are the last port-mortem twitches.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

While I certainly think that charitable giving is good, I sometimes wonder if we have gone overboard. For example, tv shows like extreme makeover provide pretty extravagant housing to people in need. I often think that they would do better by providing more modest housing and some other service, like continued education or training, counseling, or something that will help these people earn their own way.

Usually, the kind of charity I give to involves an organization that is doing something that empowers people to do for themselves. As they say, if you give a man a fish, they can eat for a day, but if you teach them to fish, they can eat for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Everybody should give until it hurts, especially the rich who have a household income above $90,000!

Posted by: Obama | August 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

And if they don't, they are racist.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

There are people who also pigenhole poor people. They must be starving or near homeless to help. These people want to live like you and me, they want xboxs, cars etc. It's human nature. working poor need not apply to these people. It's kind of like " you're poor, how dare you ask for a nike shirt, you should accept anything" mentality. They want their share of teh american dream too.

Posted by: charity is not a litmus test | August 1, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama's new simplified tax plan

1. what did you make?
2. send it in.
3. change we can believe in

Posted by: obama is a fraud | August 1, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

1:40, yes OP is dying. Check out the snarky comment from Twaddle. I bet she just wrote a big check to pay for her kid's private school tuition. And.Stop.Putting.A.Period.Between.Every. Word. That. Is. So. Damned. Annoying. I'll be you're the 'pot, meet kettle' witch.

Posted by: | August 1, 2008 2:14 PM

Since when is challenging hypicrosy snark?

You have some nerve with your upper middle class, never-been-hungry, self looking down your nose at the poor and at foreigners as if you are so moral because you toss an extra $25 here and there, mostly for the tax deduction. Instead of being grateful you have never experienced hunger, you judge the gratitude of others. God looks on the soul. That thought should give you pause.

Get. Off. Your. High. Horse. That's for you, Ms. Unhappy.

Posted by: What Twaddle | August 1, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

These people want to live like you and me, they want xboxs, cars etc. It's human nature. working poor need not apply to these people. It's kind of like " you're poor, how dare you ask for a nike shirt, you should accept anything" mentality. They want their share of teh american dream too.

Of course everyone wants a part of the American dream. But not everyone can afford it. And some people are able to afford to live decently by forgoing things like an Xbox or brand names or what have you. I refuse to participate in a system that feeds on this sense of entitlement. Charity should be for needs, not wants, except in some limited cases (like Christmas presents for kids). While I sympathize with wanting what the Jones have, I don't feel a particular need to cater to it. I do without to live within my budget, and expect others to do the same according to their means.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

fr Bigfoot:

>Do people give to beggars?"

What most of them need is a swift kick in the seat of their pants.

I will NOT give them "a swift kick..." as that is extremely rude. If I have granola or cereal bars, I will give those, or coupons for discounted meals. I generally don't give $.

Posted by: Alex | August 1, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Wowsers! I wish that a household income of 90k made you rich!!! It doesn't make you poor but it sure doesn't mean you are rolling in the money!

Posted by: Billie | August 1, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

There are alot of organizations who are meeting the needs of the authentically poor and needy, by anyone's standards. Not giving to any charities because some don't do a good job of vetting the recipients seems like nothing more than rationalizing stinginess.

if you aren't seeing any responsible people struggle under the weight of either unanticipated medical bills or the need to support elderly parents, either your eyes are closed to others' needs or your life experience is horridly narrow.

Posted by: oh my my | August 1, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'll second that, Billie. But maybe that's just DC mentality. In some other parts of the country, I would imagine it could buy a very nice lifestyle.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Charity should be for needs, not wants, except in some limited cases (like Christmas presents for kids).

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:24 PM

Why make an exception for Christmas gifts for kids?

Posted by: Wondering | August 1, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Send 'em all to the workhouse!

Posted by: Scrooge | August 1, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

And put the deadbeats ind debtors prison.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Why make an exception for Christmas gifts for kids?

Posted by: Wondering | August 1, 2008 3:30 PM

If you have to ask you will never understand....

Posted by: santa | August 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Emily,

Perhaps that is where my disillusionment came into play. I also feel like charity should be for needs and not wants in its most basic form. I don't have the money to get all my wants but I certainly manage to deal with my needs. So it seems strange for me to be giving up some of my hard earned money that I could be using for my own wants to give someone else their extravagant wants. Buying a child a toy for Christmas is certainly not a basic need but it seems a little odd to be purchasing a toy that I wouldn't even give my own child because of its expense.

Posted by: Billie | August 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the article about the house from Extreme Makeover that was foreclosed on because the owners mortgaged it and then couldn't pay?

THis is the direct result of well-intentioned, but ultimately thoughtless charity paired together with a sense of entitlement by those who receive the charity. In the end, all that money and all that effort on the part of the people who built that house was squandered. What a waste.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Billie,
I have to agree with you. I am all for helping those in need, but I don't consider it true help if it only caters to self-indulgence and not to true betterment. Give a kid a Christmas present is one thing, but buying an Xbox or even new Xbox games is totally different. At my house, we don't buy new games at all. We always buy used.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Where are Donna and Cecilia today? I want to hear whether Donna has gone back to her husband or is staying with her parents. And whats going on with Cecilia's "precious."

Posted by: ??? | August 1, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"At my house, we don't buy new games at all. We always buy used."

lifestyles of the dull and downtrodden....

Posted by: Emily's house where everything is used, even the spinach | August 1, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Donna's been busy prepping for her weekly Friday nite sex-toys party. Cecelia has been so on the verge of tears all day over the uncharitability at this blog that she's been unable to post anything yet.

Posted by: to ??? | August 1, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Emily,

I heard about that foreclosure. Apparently, they mortgaged their home to build a business. It seemed like an admirable goal and it is a shame that the business went under. I don't know what I would have done but it seems a little foolish to me to risk the roof over your head.

I have often wondered how the families were doing that were the recipient of Extreme Makeover. It would be nice to hear about some other instances in which families have turned their lives around as a result of Extreme Makeover.

Posted by: Billie | August 1, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Twaddle is totally sick. Way off base. Your shrink out of town this month?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Is giving pointless? Do people that receive charity deserve the help? What about kids that deserve but their parents are using the kids?

I'm not sure what age it is appropriate to introduce kids to these darker issues of philanthropy, but i know my kids certainly aren't there right now. Expose them to these issues to soon and it may just kill their interest in giving in the future.

So we'll just stick to having the kids pull weeds at their school and by just modeling volunteering and charitable giving ourselves, for the time being. We aren't going to pressure them into anything more.

Posted by: capitol hill mom | August 1, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Troll at 3:46 - You are funny. Yes a lot of things in my house are used. But you know what, in 2 months, we will own our house outright.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I was absolutely apalled when one of my friends left half a beer in the can only to go to the fridge and pop a fresh one. His excuse was that he didn't like beer if it got too warm.

What???

Do you know how many people in India go to bed sober every night???

Shameful!

Posted by: It's a sin to waste good food | August 1, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

It's a sin to waste good food

Fof4 makes another appearance!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It's a sin to waste good food

Beer is a beverage, not a food.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Fo4's presence would be a welcome respite from the string of trolls who have been posting lately. At least he's a kind soul with a sense of humor.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"Do you know how many people in India go to bed sober every night???"

I just spewed my rum and coke all over my keyboard on that one.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The fixation with the OP blog has gotten really old really fast. It's just too kindergarten.


Posted by: trying to grow up | August 1, 2008 3:40 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

pATRICK - Where on earth have you been hiding?

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Shut up ep. No one cares about you taking the bar exam. Lots of people have taken it and no one feels the need to constantly beg from sympathy about how hard it is on some blog.

And those of you signing with anonymous posts or fake/one time use handles are just trolls.

Posted by: Emily | August 1, 2008 4:34 PM

Emily I didn't know you had it in you!

Posted by: wow! | August 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

That wasn't the real Emily.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Seems that them there trolls bees varmits! Just points thems out, I will shoot them all to kingdom come!

Posted by: Jed Clampett | August 1, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

That wasn't the real Emily.

Posted by: | August 1, 2008 4:39 PM

How do we know that?

I have thought of a test to check on the authenticity of Emily's id.

"Emily, pronounce "spinach" for us!"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I give money to beggars on the street. So does DH, and we've both handed a buck to a kid, and had him hand it to the street person.

I know the guys along my walk to-from work, know their stories - or at leastthe less harsh bits that they're willing to share with a nice lady. They shelter me from the harshest parts of their lives on the mean SF streets. I know when someone is drunk or drugged, and when he's sober.

I hope they'll use my cash for food, or clean clothing, but I couldn't sleep on a concrete sidewalk without getting plowed, so I can't very well look down on someone else for doing what he has to just to be able to sleep. I know they're getting some sort of services to solve their homelessness, because I only give money to the ones selling "Street Sheets", the local homeless coalition newspaper.

A lot of my old time regulars are gone. Most of them were making some sort of progress. When one of my friends disappears from his regular corner, I miss him. And if he seemed to be going down hill before he disappeared, I worry that he's been arrested, hurt or died.

One of my regulars who had been making progress before he disappeared has just turned up again. Whatever happened to his housing must have fallen apart again. But he's still making jokes - when I hugged him, he turned to the other pedestrians giving us funny looks and told them it was okay because I was his niece, he's a huge African American, and I'm an small-boned white woman, and he looks younger than me. And he was still sober and cheerful, so I think he'll be able to pull his life back together one more time, and get back into housing.

Another of my regulars is oing to disappear sometime in the next year - or so I hope. He's finally got his dental needs taken care of (it's hard to get or keep a job when your face is swollen to twice its normal size, and people can't understand what you're saying), and he's been taking college classes for the last six months. He's going to make it, and I tell him so every time I see him. He always tells me to say hi to DH and the kids for him.

I expect I'll get mocked here. Through no fault of my own I was almost homeless two times back when I was in my early 20's. Both times, a nice guy with a job was willing to keep a roof over my head and put food on our table, because I was a pretty young woman. I could so easily have ended like the homeless guys I befriend now, so I can't look down on them.

Those who do look down on the less fortunate, and who criticize me for seeing humanity and trying to reduce discomfort and misery, have never pondered "there, but for the grace of God, go I". Those mean-spirited commentswill tell me more about their authors, than it will about me or my less-fortunate friends.

Posted by: Sue | August 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Now I understand why pATRICK is hiding. And Fo4 also, along with the rest of the crew. Too many damn snipers around here.

Posted by: CF | August 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This is just a troll throw up blog. The real OB posters are long gone. I bet someone will post as Leslie Steiner pretty soon.

Posted by: what a waste | August 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Coming up next: Songster sets Perry's lament to the tune of "My Grandfather's Clock."

Songster may think that but he will never do it. You know that Leslie and Songster are BFF's.

Posted by: Fred too! | August 1, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

BFF, really?

News alert! Fred's had a sex change!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 1, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Having worked with battered women, one of the 'red flags' of abusers is to destroy something of value of the victim. Obviously, Leslie is a button-pusher. If she destroyed a watch valued by her ex-husband, she is also an abuser. She was doing the same thing he was doing only in a passive-aggressive manner. Her current hubby is probably pussy-whipped and submissive to her abuse. These people always find each other.

Furthermore, Twaddle is nuts. Pure and simple. If you bad-mouth somebody else's charitable actions, you show an ugly side of yourself. Charity is the rent we pay for our space here on earth. I.can.just.imagine.what.kind.of.selfish. wretches.you.are.raising. Get thee to a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

Posted by: Button pusher..... | August 1, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

"I hope they'll use my cash for food, or clean clothing, but I couldn't sleep on a concrete sidewalk without getting plowed, so I can't very well look down on someone else for doing what he has to just to be able to sleep."

This is a very good point. I've never thought of it this way.

Posted by: Mona | August 2, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

"This is a very good point. I've never thought of it this way."

Nothing better than rationalizing alcoholism!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 2, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Furthermore, Twaddle is nuts. Pure and simple. If you bad-mouth somebody else's charitable actions, you show an ugly side of yourself. Charity is the rent we pay for our space here on earth. I.can.just.imagine.what.kind.of.selfish. wretches.you.are.raising. Get thee to a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

Posted by: Button pusher..... | August 1, 2008 8:10 PM

Pure and simple, you can't read. I criticized the jdugmental - looking down their spoiled noses on the poor and needy. I. am. raising. generous. children. who. do. not. evaluate. the. souls. or. deeds. of. the. recipients. of. their. generosity. They can also read. That's a distinct improvement over the shallowness and tendency to rush to judgment of your kids, Button Pusher. See that ugly side in the mirror? It's a shame.

Posted by: What twaddle | August 2, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

God grant many of these posters Sue's wisdom and true charity of spirit. Authenticity has a charm all its own.

Posted by: morvania | August 2, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

stacey,

excellent. but please be careful. when teaching kids about tzedakah, you need to teach them fiscal responsibility not only for their own lives, but for the places they want to give to.

watch out for high overheads, lots of well paid staff, big fundraising departments taking high percentages, etc.

we use danny siegel's concepts (www.dannysiegel.com) of mitzvah heroes. finding that one person with whom you create a relationship and know how your money is being used.

read more at: www.mitzvahheroesfund.org
(under 'what is a mitzvah hero')

arnie draiman
www.draimanconsulting.com

Posted by: arnie draiman | August 3, 2008 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Note Barack Obama's writing in "Audacity":

"In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans ... have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging," he laments. "I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

http://www.americanconservativedaily.com/2008/03/heartless-us-must-weep-for-muslims/

Posted by: FoolsThatWeAre | August 4, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

FoolsThatWeAre - wrong friggin' blog, Dude. Copy and paste your useless link on one of the many other blogs focused on endless political sparring.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

fr Sue:

>...Yes, I give money to beggars on the street. So does DH, and we've both handed a buck to a kid, and had him hand it to the street person....

Better to give them a granola bar or cereal bar than $.

Posted by: Alex | August 5, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

testing 123

Posted by: tester | August 8, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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