A Salute for Those Who Give in This Kind of Economy

I don’t have to tell you the economic picture has hardly been painted with springtime colors.

It’s made it harder this year than any other to fundraise for the St. Baldrick’s head-shaving even to fight children’s cancer that’s fast approaching.

My customary e-mail to friends and family traditionally raises at least $1,000. This year – I’m just halfway there.

People just don’t have the money.

And I just don’t have the heart. As important as the cause is to me – a mother, a journalist who has written too many times about children in this community stricken with cancer – for the first time, I can’t summon the courage to approach people the way I have in the past.

I can’t find it in me this year to knock down doors and rattle cages.

What’s shocking? How many people can – and still do. The people who are still willing to use guilt trips and the hard sell to get money for their charity as homes are repossessed and “restructuring” has taken the place of growth.

Sure, it’s good for the non-profit. But is it worth it?

I’m willing to bet that the money that came willingly in past years would come this year too if people could. I’d even wager that a fair portion of the money guilted out of people with a little pressure in years past would make its way into the coffers of the non-profits again this year . . . if people could.

Sadly, too many people can’t.

It’s why I turned down a request from another big charity this year to get involved in their cause, a cause that attracted a number of big names in Sullivan County.

With my head already pledged to St. Baldrick’s and that day already set aside for work at the Democrat, I couldn’t spread myself that thin.

I also couldn’t take the sales pitch, the insistence that I drop work aside in this economy for a day of charity. Yes, my job is here, but they didn’t know that.

And where once I could shake the trees for money a few times over because I believed hard enough in the cause, I believe as much this year in letting families feed their kids first, maybe throw $5 in a pot later.

Non-profits are hurting. But people are hurting too. And one of the key aspects of any charity is its mission to help people – to make a difference in their lives.

I will walk into the Liberty firehouse on March 28 with a smaller haul this year. I’ll be sad, sure. But I will walk tall – because somehow, this year, smaller numbers seem to be a bigger deal.

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