Monday, April 25, 2016


Given the scallywags who seem to turn up regularly in the organizational ranks of various charities, perhaps my visceral skepticism and subsequent unwillingness to reach for my checkbook can be ... well ... if not exactly forgiven, at least softened a bit. If donations to a 'good cause' underwrite a 10-day vacation in Barbados and swath the adventure in excuses about how it will help the organization, I bridle: How many in actual need might have been helped by the price of a plane ticket and a suite and whatever other add-ons? 

But then the evidence of people in need starts to mount up, my doubt dwindles and I can no longer refrain from lending some small hand.

But I do so with skeptical banners flying. I want to know what percentage of the donated buck goes directly to the person or people who make my heart ache. Some charities really do bust their chops trying to pass along the good will. Others seem careless and carefree about booking a vacation-land ticket for one executive or another.

In the past, I have been convinced enough by the Heifer Project that puts the practical means (goats, cows, pigs, chickens) into needy hands. Mind you, I didn't have much to give, but the philosophy appealed to me enough to oil up my check-writing arm.

And the same wash of conviction overcame me this morning when reading the local paper about a three-times a week free-meal program hosted by something called MANNA. The umbrella organization seems to bring Christian bells and whistles with it, but I can overlook the spiritual add-ons when the local dining experience is right up my alley: No one should go hungry in the world's richest nation; people are encouraged to come back for seconds and even take home a doggy bag. Food ... directly ... to the hungry.

No one is stupid enough to ask a hungry person why s/he is hungry. It's enough to know that s/he is. And further, it is enough to know that for those who have enough, it is never quite enough if that "enough" cannot be shared with others. To me -- Donald Trump notwithstanding -- feeding those who are hungry is as obvious an American quality as mom and apple pie... and never more so than in a political season rife with candidates talking about and defining an American way of life.

I'm not the most charitable person in the world and I certainly wouldn't bask in some spiritual limelight based on what little I did give, but if someone says they're hungry, my first reaction is, "Let me check the fridge."

I'm off to find the checkbook.

1 comment:

  1. Lionel Lin RongxiangApril 27, 2016 at 2:03 AM

    If I wanted to donate a charity and like what I am donating, I rather repair your zendo roof!

    Each time I donate any legal charity, it is 3 times tax deductible and automatically claimable. The last time I donated a non-legal charity named 'Zeromagnitude', I believed in each buck I donated and still do. In fact I liked donating Zeromagnitude as well as Black Moon, way more than some goodie-two-shoe 501c organisation that tells me about some starving child in West Bank or Bangladesh.

    My family forced me literally to donate to a Tzu Chi Foundation, also found in USA these days. Sure they were fine, they were after all HUGE compared to your backyard. So literally all my donation dollars were indirectly siphoned to this mega-buddhist-charity, till now it feels as if I was being forced to donate in other to buy gangsterism-like protection from other religions and political parties. Because I was a member of a huge buddhist charity, all my moneys belong to them by decree of Asian parenting, and by sacrificing all my moneys to a dana that I barely found useful, it kept me alive from the 'evil forces' of theisms and democracies to come by and say hi to an old acquaintance of sorts.