‘To Donate or to Not Donate… That is the Holiday Question

Well before there is a tiny white bulb or a piece of tinsel to be seen, we are approached, cajoled, accosted, bribed, and guilted into “digging deep” for those who are less fortunate, especially during the holidays. AND…especially during this very prolonged miserable economy! Who can blame anyone for asking when the need is so great?

Don’t get me wrong, Ladyjustice’s middle name is generosity with a “CAPITAL G.” However, LJ has reached her saturation point, her tolerance, for the unsolicited. It’s enough to scream, Jesum Crow! (That’s camp counselor language for taking the Lord’s name in vain. As a 9 year old camper, LJ looked up to these summer camp counselors and couldn’t wait “to be cool and swear just like them.”) ‘Anyway… I digress…

At Work: We have the Care ‘N Share Fund, the Charitable Giving Champaign (optional payroll deduction) and lots of holiday fundraisers! These fundraisers seem to all be of the food variety, as that’s all anyone pays attention to… Just last week, we had the “Porkapolooza” (pulled pork sandwiches with all the trimmings) for five bucks. (Seriously, we did!) This week, it’s homemade chili. (Doesn’t anyone except Ladyjustice bring their lunch anymore? No… Ladyjustice is the appointed scribe for what used to be called the “Diversity Committee.” Again, all they want to do is eat. What is so culturally diverse about Dunkin munchkins or cookies? I dunno…

Outside the Office in “The Real World”: We have the grocery store line. The cashier will invariably ask if this writer wants to give a dollar to the Jimmy (Cancer) Fund. Well, LJ has it on good authority that “the original Jimmy” is in his 80’s and probably in a nursing home somewhere. The usual response is, “I have a disability. I work with people with multiple disabilities… I work with homicide survivors… I’ll leave that for those who don’t do anything for others…”

And, not to pick on the fine non-profit, the Salvation Army. People in recovery who stand out there in the frozen precipitation ringing the bell deserve a huge amount of credit! They are trying to get their lives back on track. But…every time you enter or exit the store, (all entrances) some of them can “be in your face.” “I have no home,” one lady shouted to Ladyjustice a few days ago. This giving person, this blogger is torn at such times. She lives frugally, makes a decent wage, has a nest egg, “just in case,” has a few “don’t touch investments,” has paid into a long term health insurance plan, has great health coverage currently, a roof over her head with a mortgage and food when she drags herself to the grocery store –least favorite chore! However, there is no other person to serve as a safety net. ‘No one else to contribute. It’s all on Ladyjustice. (In reality, her biological family would save her from homelessness, I suppose, but they have their own lives…)

When this writer is approached again by the “Salvy worker,” LJ really wants to pull out an accordion style picture wallet (just like Grandma) and show him/her all of the organizations Ladyjustice supports with time, promotion or money. A majority of groups with some probably missed are: (PFLAG, Survivors of Homicide, DV/ Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, Missing persons, Human Trafficking, Upward Bound Program, Cerebral Palsy Assn., Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Petit Family Foundation.)

LJ also works with and assists in solving many problems for clients who are totally blind or low vision, have traumatic brain injury, memory and cognitive problems, dementia, diabetes and developmental disabilities (newer term for “retardation.”)

At times, the “Salvy worker” sees Ladyjustice’s crutches in the grocery cart and “just says hello.” They might think, “She can’t possibly have money if she uses crutches! What a crock! LJ always says hello and treats them with respect. In her heart of hearts, this writer really wants to say, “I’m only a single person household. ‘Sorry, but I can’t help everyone all of the time!” (‘Truth is, they don’t care… because their need is real … They just want to get through the day.)

Many advocates I know, some very well known and successful, struggle with the issue of “helping everyone who comes in the door.” We all try. We sacrifice a lot for others, but in reality we can’t do it all. But, we tell ourselves and in conversations with God that “we are the Superwomen they need.” There has to be a limit… Don’t kid yourself, there is no Superwoman and Santa isn’t real either!
‘Bye for Now….

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