Sunday, October 26, 2008

Charity .. what is it really?


–noun, plural -ties.
1. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity.
2. something given to a person or persons in need; alms: She asked for work, not charity.
3. a charitable act or work.
4. a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estate to a charity.
5. benevolent feeling, esp. toward those in need or in disfavor: She looked so poor that we fed her out of charity.
6. leniency in judging others; forbearance: She was inclined to view our selfish behavior with charity.
7. Christian love; agape.
"charity." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 26 Oct. 2008.>.

For a month, I was helping with a project at work. Twice a year at work, our organization distributes food and clothing to the needy population of town. We request that people bring us seasonal clothes, toiletries, new socks, new underwear, blankets and shoes. This fall, we were collecting items for the cold weather.

I am amazed that people would give us their old, USED underwear, USED socks, and summery clothes. Most of the items, such as the used items, went in the garbage, while the summery things were boxed up for the next clothing drive, usually for April.
What are people thinking? They give us DIRTY, STAINED clothes, because they are either too lazy to throw them out or too lazy to wash them.

This is the second year I have helped with this effort. This year we had 4 categories of clothes; 1. garbage (not applicable or suitable for ANYthing), 2. the thrift store (our organization has a thrift store now. Some people were giving purses, high heel shoes, sequined tops,. good for someone but not for this particular project). 3. Project: what we were really looking for, 4. Clothing Depot: in one of our sites, we have a clothing depot where staff look for items for patients. These items are meant for patients who need something to go home in. Doesn't have to look like a total smart outfit, but it has to be functional and fit. Often patients come in with the clothes on their back, which must get cut off of them or thrown out, or the person has swelling and is not able to fit their shoes, pants, etc that they came in with.

I know that one man's junk is another man treasure. But charity is about giving to those in need and giving out of love and caring. Some of these acts seem to say that they don't care, the person just wanted to dump their closet contents. Since these people are in need, they'll be happy with anything. What about dignity people? What about tact? We are taught in our Holy writings to share with the poor and to give of the heart. Some of these acts, while well meaning, don't seem to show that people think with their heart or their head.

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