The neighborhood kids love to have bake sales. They love to raise money for Haiti, for Japan and for Africa.
We’re in an affluent suburb, but let’s face it, this is Los Angeles. Los Angeles is home of the Bloods and the Crips. Los Angeles is home of one of the worst performing school districts in the country. California is 47th (of 50) in spending for students. We have a problem with the homeless, and the homeless people aren’t the problem, the problem is that we don’t care of the poor and the marginalized. We have problems with gangs, with literacy, and with public health.
We have issues.
I understand wanting to send money to Haiti, and my heart breaks for the orphans in Africa and the folks who were washed away in Japan.
I cannot help but notice that while our well meaning children raise money for these far away people, twenty feet away a father holds his son’s ankles while he fishes empty bottles out of a trash bin and we don’t think to share with them. The people on the streetcorners, the ones with the signs, they’re junkies and not worthy of our time, or even eye contact. Our food pantry is an abstract, a disposal for couponed goodness.
I’m unimpressed and I’m all done giving. Los Angeles gets my money and my time, when we don’t have children sleeping on our streets I’ll be sure to get some cash together and send it to Japan.