Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lame Charitable Giving

Every year at work we adopt families via The Salvation Army. Every year! We have 12 floors and every floor gets at least one family. It's great. I've been one of the floor coordinators for years. The coordinators contact the family to get the necessary info (gift ideas, sizes, likes/dislikes, favorite colors, child ages, food allergies, etc.).

We collect money from everyone on the floor and a few people are designated as shoppers. They go out and buy all the goodies (trust me...we get a LOT of goodies purchased. After all, I work at a Financial isn't in short supply from some of the higher ups) and bring them in to be wrapped.

It's great! Everyone loves it. In the past we've hung the family member names on a flat Christmas tree on the wall and anyone who wanted to go shopping could take a tag or two (or three). People got involved.

We set up a meeting date/time with the family and a group of coworkers goes to delivery their goodies and it is so much fun. Most of the time we end up crying. :) The families are always so thankful.

One year we had single mom with two kids who was pregnant. We don't judge. I cleaned her kitchen (don't tell hubby - I don't do that at home!). She had no sheets on the bed, one pillow. The kids all slept with her on this mattress on the floor. We gathered everyone's resources and delivered two twin beds for the bigger kids. You should have seen their faces! Sheer joy for such a simple thing that most of us take for granted. They got their own fun kid sheets and pillows. Sure, the beds had to be put in the living room, but so what. They sure didn't care.

She also didn't have a vacuum cleaner. So we got one for her. And a real bed for her (with a real mattress) and a crib for the baby. This woman was SO thankful. She cried. She didn't have to sleep with her kids in the bed anymore. She could vacuum her small home. How many of us take these small things for granted?

My favorite thing is the overwhelming look on the mother's faces (it's always been a mother - whether they were single or not - who was home to receive us) when we fill her living room and kitchen up with food, toys, sometimes a's priceless. It's part of the Christmas spirit. Giving.

This year the Privacy Grinch has ruined it. I just got an e-mail telling the coordinators that we can no longer contact the families, we can no longer find out any information (children's names, ages, favorite colors!), and we won't ever see or meet the family because we can no longer delivery to them directly. WHAT??? Apparently there's some sort of stupid new privacy law??? I wanna see it. This is just insane.


I am so pissed. We are only allowed to know them as "Family #1", "Family #2" and have to get them gift cards. Let me tell you - folks are not going to want to donate to "Family #1" ... it's impersonal. It's random. It's boring.

Who the hell came up with this stupid privacy law??? This is getting ridiculous. I want things to be secure and private but these people voluntarily sign up with the Salvation Army in order to get assistance.

I am just so flippin' ticked off right now. This is seriously one of the highlights of my year and now 90% of the joy has been sucked out of it.

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