The conspiracy is that charities have encouraged you to give money and goods anonomously so that "your good will be done in secret", and yet they
have used your contributions to make themselves appear benevolent and then use obligation to manipulate the recipient.
These charities make subtle demands on their recipients and coerce many people to be obligated to participate in their rules for endowment. Usually
recipients must "qualify" according to the givers standards. It is not unconditional giving, nor is it secret.
Jesus said that good deeds should be done in secret, yet everything we have been taught (through actions) about giving has been incorrect. Society,
and most especially the religious factions, have subtly enforced obligatory giving through their holidays.
How many times have we purchased obligatory holiday gifts because we are also expecting to receive? How do we determine how much we spend on a
person...is it their value to us or is it based on past material goods they have given us? Is it a strain at "equal value" for exchange? We have
been conditioned into a form of mandatory showy gift giving by an overabundance of "holidays".
It is rare that anyone gives anything without expecting something in return. Most people at the very least expect graditude for giving. Graditude
reinforces the givers ego and superiority and still leaves the receiver feeling obligated and beholding.
Giving from a seat of superiority can be not only insulting but often embarasses the person on the receiving end.
There is a subtle art when it comes to intentionally giving in secret. For me, I think giving in an off-hand manner tends to disguise that the deed
was intended or planned. Perhaps you all have some other ideas and I would certainly like to hear them.
I will not drop change into the bell ringers bucket. Nor will I be writing any checks to charities, no matter what their "approval" rating says.
I think the homeless and the down and out need to be recognized and acknowledged as belonging to our community...not treated as misfits, or
"pigeons" as the cops call them, but as our brothers and sisters. These people are often looked down on and abused by community members.
No matter how small, an act of kindness always warms the heart. We may not be able to give these people a home, but we could at least provide a few
small comforts to them and create a feeling of good will towards one another.
Below are a few ideas I have for giving and it should not be limited to any holiday. Nor would I ever express any giving as an attribute of a
religious holiday. I would also like to hear creative ways of giving from the rest of you.
Gloves and gel handwarmers:
My suggestion would be to purchase gloves at a second hand store or a discount store. Work gloves would be good too. (It would be very out of place to
give a homeless person a new pair of expensive isotoners in a gift wrapped box!)
Bear in mind that after cold weather season, the homeless person may cast off such things as they are limited in what they can carry. Make sure the
gloves are clean and in good condition.
When you see a person you suspect may be homeless...on a cold day and without gloves...strike up a conversation about the cold weather. Mention that
you have an extra pair of gloves in your vehicle that a temp worker left behind last year. Don't ask if person wants them. Just say "Let me go get
them and see if they fit you. There're not doing anyone any good just taking up space in the glovebox."
The hand gel warmers are a wonderful thing on a very cold day!
There are several different kinds on the market. I have seen them in sporting goods stores as well as on line.
The gel warmers can be reused thousands of times and can be used throughout the winter to keep both hands and feet warm.
A disposable handwarmer that uses different ingredients lasts for 10 hours:
(about 30 cents each)
Many people who are "on the edge" can often be found in food pantry lines (check for dates and times of openings). Those who are living in their
cars sometimes hang out in parking lots after the shopping centers close. Early morning before stores open are a good time to find them, or after
stores close, if you are not afraid of the dark. Sometimes they gather together for comraderie when the place is deserted. You may see them at the
storefront benches or using the building as a windbreak when they gather.
Another way to approach gift giving in disguise is to feign that you are employed by a market research company to distribute free samples of a
company's product. Any of the items listed below could be distributed in this way:
Insect repellent (see Crocodile brand) ; 8 in 1 peppermint shampoo; dental kits with trial size toothpaste, boxed toothbrush, and dental floss; trail
mix snacks; gel hand cleaner; vitamin C powders (Emergen-C, etc.)etc.
Other ideas might be to invite a group of homeless or car dwellers to your survivalists group party. Throw a cook-out party in a public park with
grills and informally exchange ideas of survival maneuvers you have learned. Some people living in the woods have never had camping experience and the
hygiene is awful. They could certainly benefit from listening to experienced campers. However, make them feel that they are the guests of honor and
that you are interested in hearing their encounters and solutions, too.
This is only a few suggestions for a starting point.
Lets stop feeding the charity beast and take personal action ourselves!
[edit on 1-11-2009 by Alethea]