If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Monday 30 July 2012
Read gnomica 1-50 here!
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Mother Teresa (26 Aug 1910 – 5 Sep 1997)
It’s a good thought, a great thought!
But which one of the hundred?
And I don’t mean to be flip!
There is such an overwhelming need throughout the country, throughout the world. How can I possibly send money to all the requests that clog my mailbox – snail and e – every single day of every single week of every single year? I can’t. How can I decide which ones are legitimate? For it is a fact that, sadly, many of them, perhaps most of them, are outright scams, pure and simple. Yet they are all voices of want, virtually indistinguishable in the varieties of desperation that form the basis for their often heart-rending appeals.
It is not that one does not desire to help, but where will one’s eleemosynary dollars do genuine good? Where will they affect those most in need and not merely support ‘administrators’ of groups or organizations in which some 85% of contributions in fact end up going to “overhead and ‘miscellaneous’ expenses”?
I have no formula.
But I do believe that charity begins at home – thus, my sense is that I am probably more likely to be making a real contribution to alleviating need when I funnel aid through local associations rather than to a mission in Ethiopia or a hospital in Cambodia or an orphanage in the Congo – all with headquarters in New York doing the collecting. Not that these latter may not be entirely legitimate (or the former, fraudulent), but I am, frankly, less sanguine about them.
It’s the best I can do.