Begging to be bald

I don’t usually feel guilty begging for a charity.
I try to choose my causes wisely.
I do extensive research into where the money is going, how it will be used, and how much exactly will go toward “do-gooding.”
This time around, I’ve been quieter.
I sent out a simple e-mail. I didn’t even hit up everyone in my address book.
I’ve been building up gently to the big day when I shave my head for the second time.
I’m not the organizer of this year’s St. Baldrick’s event in Liberty, and that’s certainly playing a role. As much as I want to scream it from the rooftops, I’m cautious about stealing the thunder of the wonderful folks who are doing the really hard work to get the March 15 event off the ground.
Having done the 2005 event (with a lot of help from Jonathan), I know what their days are like.
I’m grateful, to tell you the truth, that I can do my part in this year’s St. Baldrick’s without shouldering the burden of event organizing.
My support of the cause has not wavered in the past two years, but life as a mom, a reporter, the owner of a photography business . . . well, it’s no wonder it’s hard to find volunteers for the fire department, the ambulance corps and the hundreds of other groups doing good here in Sullivan County.
We are all exhausted.
Those of us who “do” cannot fathom doing more, but chances are, we’re the ones who will say “yes” and “yes” and “yes” each time we’re asked.
A few weeks ago, I was told I didn’t know what it was like to be a real volunteer, and I wondered, how do you measure a “real” volunteer?
Is it in the number of hours set aside? The number of pancake breakfast dishes bused? The number of times you’ve missed the bedtime story and the last tuck in of the night?
Maybe it’s in the amount of money raised, I pondered.
But I can’t say that the teenager who raises $100 is less than the adult who raised $1,000.
How about the poor person who dug in their pockets and gave up that last $10 bill put up on a bulletin board beside the rich guy who gave $150?
No contest really.
Do we write off the person who donates their time instead of their cash? How about switching the tables – chastise the lady who whipped out her checkbook but couldn’t find a baby-sitter for meeting nights?
The swipe at my volunteer “credentials” may have as much to do with my reluctance to badger people this year as my it does with deference to the heroes of the day.
Am I giving up? Certainly not – the Easter Bunny will have a fair sight more hair than me this year.
Instead, I’m hanging back, and letting the money flow into the coffers of the organization I’ve chosen to support, one I’m convinced will one day save hundreds of thousands of families from the horrors of childhood cancer.
If they don’t donate, I won’t get angry – because I can’t judge their situation.
And if they decide to send me a check or log online to www.stbaldricks.com to donate “on my head,” well then, all the better.
It’s their choice if they want to change the world. I’m just here to help.

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