why do we give to charity, exactly?

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why do we give to charity, exactly?

Postby chris » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:55 pm

while walking to a downtown concert last week i was approached by a homeless man. in chicago, a group of homeless try selling a newspaper, more of a brochure, really...for whatever charitable donation they can get for it. the paper is written by, printed by and completely constructed by the local homeless people (donations...such as printing presses and the paper it is printed on are not only welcome, but encouraged.) it wasn't the first time this has happened. and truth be told, i'm a lot more likely to keep walking past the guy without any remorse because either i have someplace to be, i have no disposable income to pass out, or maybe even just indifferent to their current situation at that particular time.

i flipped the guy a five...wished him luck and told him he could keep the newspaper for his next "sale". and know what? i felt sort of good about myself. but that got me to thinking...why do we give to charity? i know there can be charitable donations for tax reasons. and there is the feeling that you may have done something, however inconsequencial, to make a part of some elses life just a bit better. but i thought for the first time, i did that for me. i feel better having done that.

is that selfish? that is, can an act of kindness be as much (or more) about yourself than about whom you are trying to help? and if so...is it still a charitable act?
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine.
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Re: why do we give to charity, exactly?

Postby mr h atom » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:40 am

no, it is not selfish

i began giving, in one way or another, as a wee tyke, i used to spend half my halloween day going around raising cha-ching for UNICEF in those funny orange boxes...and sold lemonade to raise the same for jerrys kids.
when i went to church, i always took my own change to put it in the basket, no matter how little i had.
as an adult, i carry a pocket full of change all holiday season to put some in every kettle i see, and go out at least once every labor day weekend to dump whatever change i have in some firemans boot
i've never given $ to a homeless person , but i have, on occasion, bought a bag of sandwiches or a meal and given it to him/her.
i give cans of food to the local food bank, & i've participated in a program where the local postal service picks up bags of non-perishables from the front porch; the the scouts do the same sort of thing.
i've donated to local, county, and state police organizations...i've been known to drop an unwrapped toy or two off with the USMC.... and all of it, none of it, have i ever even thought to take off my taxes.

i don't do it because i feel guilty about anything; i do it because i can...and i want to.
i don't make anywhere even near 6 figures, but, i ain't poor, neither...and, since (at this time) i will not give $$ to any organized religion, but feel it is the right thing to do to help out those less fortunate than i, i just do it.

this is probably because i had good teachers (parents, those at school, mentors...heck, even some of the people at the various churches i have attended didn't get it wrong all the time !) who taught me that there are more important things in life than just...well, things.

that, and, well, despite my sometimes ranting ways, i'm just not that cynical...i just cannot look at someone who is a bit less off and become all accusitorial, like so many of our brethren do.

just call me bob cratchit, sir, and i hope you and yours had a very merry christmas indeed !
at the end of the end it's the start of a journey to a much better place and this wasn't bad so a much better place would have to be special...no need to be sad...
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