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Chatterbox: Giving season now and always

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People create much havoc, but it is imperative that we remember that humans are inherently good. True, often, our world leaders seem to live in some alternate universe.

Today’s Yemen crisis and various governments’ crimes against their people, among other atrocities, make us wonder where humanity has gone, but it’s important to remember that what is political is often not the people’s choice. We may repeat, “Humans are inherently good.”

This time of year makes people particularly aware of that instinct.

Many of us are shopping, spending money, decorating, planning dinners with family and friends; that’s all about sharing, communicating love, and being in a warm loving place in our lives. Yes, it’s all hugely enhanced by this season, by Christmas in particular with all its trappings and traditions.

However, whether inspired by that which is religious or just the holly and ivy, the feelings of many nations seem filled with a special kind of generosity, peace, and good will. Okay, so it makes good lyrics for a holiday song, but it’s also very true, and it gives us the warm fuzzies and, somehow, makes us all even more magnanimous than usual.

During the year, even our political donations should be weighed magnanimously because they impact upon the vast majority of Americans. Any politicians we support affect the laws that are passed and those laws affect Americans, our relations around the world, and the planet as well. Creating a positive change whether locally or globally never means doing what’s good for us personally, but rather doing what’s good for the largest number of people and, if these holidays remind of us of anything, they should, first and foremost, remind us of the real effects we each have on one another.

Most of the year, most of what we do is what we, the people, always do best; we share. Each of us gives who we are, what we can, whenever and wherever we can. During this particular holiday season soup kitchens, religious groups, toy collection spots and good will stops are in better shape than they are most of the time. However, they do feed and clothe people all year so it’s always a good time to give.

Reputable collectors will pick up clean, useable items – luggage to lunch boxes. A few will even pick up furniture, and cash donations are accepted by a variety of legitimate charities around the country.

Our ability and willingness to help others may sometimes be complicated by our concerns about how much of our charitable intent actually reaches the people who need it. To that question we concede to the reputation of the charity, checking a charity’s legitimacy and checking out the salaries of its top tier management helps too.

We may also want to directly donate by going off the grid. Initiating one positive way of donating off the grid is a young man who started a wave of direct, yet anonymous, giving to those in the most immediate need.

He talks to people living on the street and asks them what they need. He found an online shopping site which would deliver packages without a street address, and actually mail ordered the gifts to the people on the street. The package, literally going to a particular person on a certain corner, came wrapped, with dignity via delivery, and that’s it; Happy Holidays or, just, happy day to you. Nice.

Some may have mixed feelings about this type of giving because of the questionable impetus for homelessness. Most homelessness is directly associated with addictions or illness, many of America’s homeless today were America’s military yesterday, and medical expenses are still the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

Now, a new faction appears. A growing percentage of people working full time in America can no longer afford housing. Many of America’s homeless are actually not unemployed or even marginally employed.

As earning a sustainable income and/or a job with healthcare become the mythical animal in America, a whole new class of people emerges: they are known as “the working homeless.” There is no excuse for such a condition anywhere, much less in America. Though, all homelessness must be addressed fast and hard, the working homeless is an issue we can have immediate and great success with through the right legislation.

Right now, we’d all love to feed the world and shelter the many, but where that fails, we can all do something. Generosity is in this season, but it’s in style all year-round.


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