As is the case this time of year, there is no shortage of charities upon which to donate toys. As usual, I end up dishing out what I consider to be a small portion to purchase gifts for the children who I envision as hungry, neglected and wearing threadbare clothes. But this year I am beginning to question the instinct I so easily react to each Christmas season.
As of now, which will most likely not change, I have purchased more gifts for charity than I have for my own daughter and two nephews. The reason is because we are bombarded with the so-called "need" each year. We see it on the local news, the newspapers, the people ringing the bells, even at work! We are told there is a great need this year for toys and that many kids will go without. Its always the same, more toys, more toys, we still haven't reached our goal yet. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping the "needy" and my tax statements will prove that I typically give away more money each year than our current Vice President of the United States. The real question here is; are all these people really in need?
Charity is defined as "something given to a person in need". The problem is that we have substituted the word "need" for the word "WANT". A survey of poor households and their amenities reveal that the overwhelming majority enjoy most of the comforts of the middle class and wealthy. You can check it out here, Amenities, for yourself. We have taken charities that were originally designed to help those in desperate "need" and broadened the effort to those who "want". Most of the households listed as poor are no doubt the same who receive the fruits of these toy donations each year. Yet most have and pay for things that I refuse to pay for. As a result, I end up taking the money that I saved by "sacrificing" throughout the year and end up buying toys for those who haven't been sacrificing. In a way I'm cheating my own family. In fact, we did without all year in certain areas so that when Christmas comes we can, God willing, purchase gifts for our loved ones.
So the question now becomes, are those who claim to be in "need" really needy? Have they been sacrificing all year? If Christmas presents are so important to them, they would have found areas to cut back. Again, this is directed at those whom I believe are the vast majority of people who claim to be in "need" and not to the minority who are indeed in "need"!!
I think the question can only be answered by ones pride. Pride is something that has been receding in the American culture for too long. No longer do people have shame for taking from others. Charity, along with so many other forms of handouts, has become a free game and a free ride to which more and more citizens are partaking. I can distinctly remember as a child in elementary school, my brother and I walking past the school cafeteria in the morning and more often than not, passing right by only to peer in at the other children eating. The kids, many my classmates were the same who received a different lunch card than me. While I took the money my mother and father gave me each week and purchased a lunch card good for one weeks lunches, these same kids received a different colored lunch card and it was from the teacher. Never did I see them paying for their lunch, and never did I see them with a lunch card other than the one that was good for the whole month. Breakfast cards too. This is whats wrong with handouts and the majority of charity. In an effort to make everything "fair", those in the middle are the ones who not only pay for it but ultimately go without!