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How To Help

If there is anything positive to come out of a disaster it is people’s desire to help. Whether you can give money, goods or time it can be challenging to find the best match for your resources.

Financial Help

The Red Cross does a good job of public relations and is the go-to organizations for many monetary donations. There are many ways to make a direct and noticeable impact with your money:

Volunteer Help

People are voicing frustration in their desire to volunteer. Keep in mind that relief efforts are geared towards organizing aid to victims not organizing volunteer opportunities. The best approach is to look for a need and fill it.

  • Go to a church, mosque or synagogue and ask how to help
  • Go to any location that has suffered damage and start carting away debris
  • Purchase a few ‘box of coffees’, & some donuts & get to a distressed area
  • Create comfort kits for children (books, stuffed toys) and bring them to grammar schools in affected areas
  • New York Cares needs volunteers

Donating Goods

  • If you donate do so by going to an INDOOR collection spot. Do not leave donations on the ground out of doors (there is a storm coming.)
  • Salvation Army & Red Cross centers and houses of worship always welcome donations
  • City Harvest and The Food Bank are accepting food donations
  • The Public Theatre just announced it is a drop-off site

The impulse to help is a great one. In the days immediately after an emergency often we only need show up to have our efforts put to good use. As time goes by it takes a bit more effort to offer the most effective assistance. But the knowledge that our help is actually helping is a suitable reward.

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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Cultural Critique, Well-Being

 

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Please To Put A Penny*

My mailbox (and inbox) have been stuffed to the gills with donation requests since November. Cashiers in chain stores have been asking me if I’d like to donate to their company’s favorite charity for months now. The sidewalks are dotted with bell ringing charity workers (every time a bell ring and angel writes a check?) A person might suffer a wee bit of wallet fatigue by the time the holiday actually arrives.

If you find the notion of holiday tipping repugnant, I would encourage you to reexamine your stance. Whether one celebrates Christmas or not, we live in a country which considers the day to be a national holiday of sorts. Many traditions have developed in support of this practice. It is customary (when possible) to give employees the day off on Christmas Day. It is also the time of year in which people express their gratitude for work done throughout the year. Hence, the Christmas bonus. For those of us who are not a C.E.O. of a grand financial institution,the Christmas bonuses we dole out are more like, uhm, tips.

It is customary to tip anyone who regularly provides a valued service to you or your family, such as:

  • Grooming Professionals (hair stylists, manicurists, etc.)
  • Babysitters (for humans or canines)
  • Tutors
  • Cleaners
  • Home Health Aide
  • Handy-people
  • Newspaper deliverer
  • Mail Carrier**

Where one lives determines another list to be considered:

  • Assisted Living & Nursing Home staff
  • Apartment Building Superintendent
  • Doormen

I have often heard people grumbling about tipping their building staff. I would just like to point out that you probably were not forced to live in a doorman building, anymore than you were forced to eat food served to you by a waitress. It is implicit in the service sector that not all compensation comes from an employer.

There may be others you would like to acknowledge during this season. I would caution however, to consider a gift (versus a tip) if the individual is not a service professional. **And while mail carriers are not to accept cash gifts, I am a scofflaw in this regard, as my mail carrier is too lovely to me to be the recipient of baked goods (despite their indescribable deliciousness.)

How much one gives is entirely up to the individual. There are no hard and fast rules, there are only guidelines.  Never give more than makes you comfortable or than you can afford. Give the amount which makes you happy. Yes, happy. Tipping, like gift giving, is not the result of extortion. It should be a genuine expression of your thanks. And why in the world would you say thank you unless you actually felt gratitude?

Hee Haw and Merry Christmas.

* …in the old man’s hat. (“A Round About Christmas”-The Kingston Trio)

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Holiday

 

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