To clarify, I identify as an atheist gay woman.
I worked for SA for two holiday seasons ringing the bell and collecting donations. I was paid $8 an hour (not from the bucket money, but from their administration). While they do have many volunteers that work for no pay, they also have this option for a limited number of people to help those less fortunate earn some money for the holidays. That’s just a little reminder that the people who sit out there in the freezing cold listening to that incessant ringing for hours a day actually depend on that for providing their families heat or food, or a few presents on Christmas.
My family is very poor. We depend on our local food pantry for our food, and we depend on stores and organizations like Salvation Army for our clothes; we wouldn’t be able to afford them without. Perhaps they have given money to services not so GSRM friendly.
But the money raised in the Red Kettle Campaigns does not go to these causes! 82 cents for every dollar they get goes to DIRECT ASSISTANCE to people in need, which is a lot in comparison to many charitable organizations. In particular, the money raised during the holiday season with the Red Kettle Campaigns goes directly towards local services! Last year, our bucket alone raised over $5,000 that went to my town’s food pantry and elderly services.
Please realize that by boycotting these kettle campaigns, you are boycotting aid to services such as local food pantries, elderly services and more. I’m not saying that you have to agree with everything they stand for (see above: my identity and religious beliefs). But that money raised really helps a lot of people.
Okay, if you want to pass on giving to Salvation Army kettles, that’s fine. You are under no obligation to give to that organization.
But don’t make that an excuse not to give this season.
If you don’t want to give to Salvation Army, please consider giving to your local services either with donations of money, supplies, or hours. There are many people out there, including myself, that would go hungry or cold without these services.
I heard stories every single day on that job from people of all backgrounds that the Salvation Army has helped in times of great need: veterans needing assistance, addicts who had nowhere else to go, families that have gone through great tragedy, etc. The Salvation Army does not discriminate who they give their aid to.
No, I do not agree with everything they stand for and everything they give their money to. But you know what? That’s no excuse for me to deny others help that they need in some passive attempt to fit in with the latest trend of boycotting an organization because not every single part of it goes along with our ideals. That money we collect goes to REAL PEOPLE in REAL NEED. In recent years, donations have been on the decline, and it is especially now that people need your help. The Red Kettle Campaign provides a convenient and accessible way for anyone to effectively give some spare change, including those who perhaps don’t have the funds or means to donate in larger ways.
Your money for the Red Kettle Campaign goes DIRECTLY TO PEOPLE IN YOUR LOCAL AREA THAT NEED ASSISTANCE. Spreading the word to boycott this campaign is like trying to get a good teacher fired for a problem that their administration makes; it’s the wrong source, and in the end you’re just hurting those students who just lost a great teacher.
Please think through your decision of whether or not to give this year, and think about why or why not you are choosing to do so.
So, liturgical geek that I am, every year I manage to miss St. Nicholas’s Day (I tend to remember it on Epiphany and go, “Oh crap, eleven months to go!”)….until this one. I was telling a young coworker about a St. Nicholas story I’d read recently (the great one about the girls with no dowries :D) and went, “You know, I think today’s the day!!!” I googled to be sure and then squeed a lot, because how often do you catch a saint’s day and get to appreciate it? AND have it be relevant to a current writing project? (I ask you!)
Not to give spoilers or anything, but there’s a tradition from St. Nicholas Day that might appear in Ch 11 of When the Moon. :D :D :D *squees so hard she can’t stand it* It might look a tiny bit like this:
Or perhaps this. (Which just makes me miss Dutch!Peeta like none other.)
(images above are linked to the gorgeous blog post I pinched them from - you need to check it out!!)
So I know the day is nearly over, but there’s a wealth of St. Nicholas stuff to explore, if anyone’s curious, and a whole lot of it starts here (history, activities, and lots of other goodness).
And with that, I have writing to do! :D Happy St. Nicholas Day, everyone!
For those of you feeling charitable this holiday season, I’d like to tell you about the Safehouse for Women Adopt-A-Family for Christmas program. When I was 13 (and my brothers were 8 and 3), due to escaping a violent situation, we had to stay in a safehouse for a year, and then we moved into safehouse housing for the next two years until my mom could support us fully on her own. These places are behind gates, monitored with cameras, and very strict - you have to sign in and sign out when and where you are going, and how long it will be. You can’t have anyone over, etc. It’s like living in a comfortable, well-meaning prison. Anyway, we were in a place we didn’t know at all. We’d never been to this city before (we were 200 miles away from “home”). I went from a school with about 50 students in my year to 500. It was a pretty major adjustment. On top of that, we weren’t allowed any contact with friends or family in case of being found (the situation, at the time, was very serious), and when we’d left, we only took some of our most treasured things and the clothes on our backs. We left everything and had to start over with nothing in a new city, where we knew no one. Needless to say, Mom (even though she was working two jobs) couldn’t afford Christmas (aside from a couple $1 toys from the local Dollar Tree, and we were thankful for just that much). But some charitable, good-hearted stranger took it upon themself to buy Christmas gifts for my family. I remember being so surprised and overwhelmed when I received them and just crying because someone had done something so nice and thoughtful. And 15 years later, I still have some of these gifts - a stuffed animal, a Barbie, etc, because they hold such sentimental value to me. My family and I have participated in this charity a few years when we could afford it, just to give back and maybe put a smile on a child’s face and hope in a mother’s heart. The link above is local, but you can find one near where you live. Donating to any charity is a beautiful thing, but I just felt I should shine some light on this one since it’s had such a personal impact on me in the past. :)
Oh my gosh, YES! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful testimonial! <3
I do a personal stuffed animal “drive” during the holiday season for our local chaplaincy corps and have been aching for a way to do something similar for victims of domestic violence. This sounds like a wonderful place to start. :)