At the beginning of this year we needed five wall calendars. I had over twenty from charities who then followed up with letters asking if I had received their beautiful calendar for 2016. If I had not already done so, would I please show my appreciation by sending a generous donation in return? At least six charities have sent me an elaborate certificate suitable for framing praising my generosity. I have never given anything to at least two of those charities.
In addition I received a total of over a hundred Christmas cards. Some were accompanied with sheets of Christmas wrapping paper, seals, and even ball point pens. Throughout the year I have received two desk calculators, several magnifying glasses, two pairs of gardening gloves and packets of seeds, and four American Indian dream catchers. The Indians hang these over their children’s beds to catch all the bad dreams and only let good dreams pass through. Like multitudes of other people I have a desk drawer filled with return address labels and note pads which inevitably accompany pleas for money.
Many of these requests for money include return envelopes with postage stamps affixed. A friend of mine uses these envelopes for personal letters. He affixes a blank label to cover the address of the charity and then writes on the label the name and address of the person to whom he is corresponding. A couple times a year when I clean out the box into which I toss requests for money, I set aside all the reply envelopes with postage affixed. I then soak the stamps off and glue them on my own outgoing mail.
Am I pleased with this largess that I receive in a steady stream week by week? NO! When I send money to Indian schools, homeless shelters, food banks, heart, Alzheimer’s or other health charities, I want my money used to alleviate poverty, suffering, or misery. I don’t want it used to buy gifts for people who don’t need anything to entice them to give alms to those who do need help.