The 100-mile donation


by admin on December 8, 2010

Christmas is fast approaching and, as we all know, ’tis the season for giving.

This would be a good time to consider this traditional reflex action.

Perhaps our donations to charity should be reconsidered. There are an estimated 3,200 registered charities in Canada, all no doubt very worthy operations.

But most operate in far-off places, Africa being a particularly needy target. The problem is that most of the aid to Third World countries hasn’t made much of a dent in the poverty problem.

“Stop sending aid to Africa. It isn’t doing any good.” That’s the cry being heard this year in some charitable circles.

Bob Geldof’s Live Aid program, which collected $100 million, has been accused of aiding warlords. Canada has suspended aid to Zambia after embezzlement allegations. Ethiopia after 25 years of aid has gone from bad to worse. Its population has doubled under a dictatorship and famine still stalks the land.

A noted Afro-American aid worker with 30 years experience and a PhD in the social sciences has

told the United Nations that aid to Africa is worse than useless. It’s harmful.

With this in mind, let’s look around closer to home. Are there any worthy causes where we live? Could we adopt The Locavore Principle, which mandates that food should be grown and consumed locally whenever possible and adapt it to charitable giving.

Is there an alcohol is drug problem hereabouts? Can local aid organizations use a little – or a lot – of help? Can we tailor our gift giving to our home base?

We know there are local alcohol problems, that drugs and drug problems are close by, that there is a woman’s shelter, a home for the mentally challenged, in short, a variety of local causes involving the aged, the infirm, the lonely.

Consider charitable giving the locavore way – wise choices shouldn’t be too difficult. Look around. Is there someone or something doing good work in the community that is struggling to survive on limited funds? If it’s an organization doing local good deeds, write them a cheque (It doesn’t have to be very big).

If you see an individual doing good works, give generously but don’t insult their pride with gratuitous giving. See to it here that your gift is made anonymously, so that the feeling of being beholden to someone is eliminated. You’ll feel better even though nobody knows of your community kindness.

If everybody hereabouts made just one gift, the single donation won’t amount to much, but the collective collection could be a different matter entirely.

So, dear readers, look around you, pick a target – and give.

Give locally, that is.