I’m Not Giving Any More

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.

 

 

Facebook Comments

  • It’s really awesome that you’re vesting an interested in giving. I agree somewhat.. as long as people give to their community, strengthen where they are.. then we can launch out and save the world. That said, I donate both places! I buy food every week for our church’s food pantry (which feeds over 500 families each week – when it started it was a couple hundred). I also texted in $10 to help the relief in Japan. Really, it’s about teaching generosity to your kids.. and a visual impact that’s close to home helps, and explaining why we’re giving not more than “oh I feel really guilty and sad.”

  • I understand. it’s the media focus that brings the cause of the day to life. my fave is walking on larchmont and the gal with the clipboard says, “have time to stop racism and hate?” so if you keep walking it’s like saying, yeah, racism and hate are fine just the way they are. But, I really just want my bagels.

  • Lissak

    I get it, I do. And I mostly agree. Because when I’m asked at the grocery store, or let’s say TJ Maxx (can I say that?) to donate a dollar to (insert large charity here)… my answer has become “Thank you, but I donate time and money to my daughter’s school, would YOU like to donate”. It confuses them mostly. I find that I’m ok with that. Maybe it’ll get somebody thinking.

  • Lissak

    I get it, I do. And I mostly agree. Because when I’m asked at the grocery store, or let’s say TJ Maxx (can I say that?) to donate a dollar to (insert large charity here)… my answer has become “Thank you, but I donate time and money to my daughter’s school, would YOU like to donate”. It confuses them mostly. I find that I’m ok with that. Maybe it’ll get somebody thinking.

  • Lissak

    I get it, I do. And I mostly agree. Because when I’m asked at the grocery store, or let’s say TJ Maxx (can I say that?) to donate a dollar to (insert large charity here)… my answer has become “Thank you, but I donate time and money to my daughter’s school, would YOU like to donate”. It confuses them mostly. I find that I’m ok with that. Maybe it’ll get somebody thinking.

  • Why not do both? In many countries $20 can go a long way. Here $20 doesn’t go so far but what about making sure you know about your struggling neighbors and helping out people living on the edge. Getting involved, making friends, finding a group that is making a difference and helping them out.

  • I understand where you’re coming from on this.

  • I agree 100%. Sadly, I think (at least sometimes) that those who give to other countries instead of ours often think those countries are somehow more worthy than the United States. They take out the fact that they’re pissed at our government on the citizens who truly need our support.

  • This is how I feel about foreign adoption as well. And, I do plan to put my money where my mouth is. My husband and I plan to adopt two kids in foster care once our two little ones are in school.

  • Anonymous

    I personally understand both sides. Yes in our economy today there are many people who are homeless purely because of bad luck. But many are homeless because of the choices they’ve made. I don’t think this makes them less important but sometimes its feels like the people of other countries are in their situation without fault of their own. I think to each their own and if you are giving to someone it’s up to you where you send it.

  • RJ

    Great post! I agree 100%!

  • You sound just like my dad and husband. I totally agree. When I think of the billions our government gives to other countries, while people here lose homes or don’t get proper healthcare, it frustrates me beyond belief.

  • Larysadidio

    Amen sister!

  • Anonymous

    My parents feel this way…and they do privately give their funds to 1 particular faraway charity…but they have asked their church to focus most of it’s giving efforts on the local community and area. Obviously it’s a churchwide decision…but once it was discussed and people understood the needs a lot of the focus was shifted to local giving.

    I hardly give anything…I give my time when I can.

  • Exactly. We must take care of those at home first. Then worry about the rest.

  • I live in Laos, when I moved here in 2003 it was one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. I don’t know where “we” fall now on the list, but Laos raised aid for the tsunami in 2004 AND for Japan recently. It breaks my heart but at the same time there is a beauty in watching people with so little scrape together a few thousand dollars for others in crisis. The irony is not lost on me, though. Japan has given LOTS of aid to Laos however, so I guess it balances.

  • Libbey

    I respectfully disagree. It is not fair to lump third world countries together with first world countries. Giving aid to first world countries in times of crisis is very different from giving aid to third world countries that are in constant crisis. I feel for the marginalized here in our country, but a day in the life of a homeless person in the US cannot be compared to a day in the life of a person living in a third world country. I have no proof to back this up, I simply feel it is true in my heart. Impoverished people in countries with no religious or political freedoms have no way out, or even a comprehension that they might want a way out. It’s a totally different ballgame. I think Ethnocentric is the word I’m looking for.

  • Fli

    totally agree.