Monday, April 25, 2011

Assumption is Ignorance

Recently a friend of my wife's that she grew up with suffered what I would call a devastating loss.  During the massive rainstorms last week, her house became flooded.  And we're not just talking a little water in one or two rooms, we're talking almost TWO FEET throughout the house.  Everything is ruined.  She also has two daughters, aged 4 and 7.  The girls lost all of their toys, their beds, books, games, stuffed animals, and so much more.  My wife posted on a local Yahoo! group a somewhat detailed list of what the girls had and what they like.  Unfortunately, we only got 2 responses, and this is my reaction.
For some reason, people automatically assume that you are trying to scam them when you ask for donations.  When you post to a Yahoo! group, it goes directly to the email inbox of every member of that group, meaning that literally a few hundred people are sent that post.  When picking up items from one of the two people who responded, I happened to mention while thanking her that we only received the two responses.  She was astonished at such a pitiful number.  By the time I got home 10 minutes later, she had already posted a new message questioning society and it's lack of compassion.

And people actually responded.  One stated that she only donates to approved charities such as The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Rescue Mission , and her church.  Another said that there are too many people out there that would take the last dollar from an elderly person.  Another woman actually said that because my wife mentioned specific "likes" that the girls had, she was afraid that a bottle of bubbles or dolls would go unused.  Another person wrote the following:

It saddens me that people who are left with nothing place such importance on the things they want  and not on what they need .  this is society today . i see it in the homeless or near homeless who turn down food because it was not home made and came from mcdonalds paid for by one person in our ministry , they wanted him to do all the cooking and clean up . and their words  ..." we get to eat that every day  we'll go home and eat"
it is why if there is a list of things wanted i do not just get that stuff i get needs   not wants . and if the wants require a breach of my faith  i can not cause my brother to stumble.

I'm still trying to figure out what that means.  Nobody mentioned any wants, only interests.  In my opinion, children need toys.  They don't even care what kind, especially when they are only 4 years old.  Just because a 7 year old likes Justin Beiber, that doesn't mean that she has to have his dolls and music.  Get a grip people.  Kids have vivid imaginations and if we open our hearts and donate toys that are sitting on a shelf collecting dust to a child in need, they will be happy.  I've had it with people who think that everyone is out to trick them.  I'm tired of people who think that everyone who asks for help must be a scammer.  In this case, SO WHAT if the kids don't like some toys and they get sold at a yard sale?  The family can then use that money for either new toys that the kids like, or they can use it pay repair bills, buy a new washer and dryer, or install new carpet.

Instead people want to ASS-U-ME that items aren't actually needed.  That my kid, unaffected by flood waters, is going to end up with them.  That I'm collecting them to sell at a yard sale.  Or maybe they just don't want to give them up because they are selfish.  They want to donate them to a charitable organization so that they can get a receipt and claim the donation on their taxes.  I've got news for people like that, you're not going to save much.  So next time you see someone asking for help for a friend, don't write it off immediately. Especially if you know that a disaster happened nearby.  That family in need is going to be grateful for anything and everything they receive.  And never, EVER forget that, one day, you may be the person in need who has been affected by a natural disaster and, when you ask for help, you may not get any.  Certainly not as much as you could use.

They say "Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups", and "Ignorance is bliss".  Well, in my eyes, assumption is ignorance.  Don't ever assume that people are either going to get the help they need, or that they are just trying to rip you off, because, more than likely, the answer is neither of those things.  There are people in the world who genuinely need our help, and it's up to us, as a society, to start to recognize that and act upon it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment