Friday, April 24, 2009

A Moral Dilemma On Donations

To Donate or Not To Donate?

The other day, I found a paper bag hanging on my mail box. Among other things, it asked for shampoo, conditioner, and soap. At first, I thought this was a bit of serendipity. I had just bagged up a ton of shampoo, conditioner, soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste, and lotions for donation. I have so many on hand. A lot are samples I've purchased and never gotten around to using, while others are from hotel stays. The dental products come from the dentist gift bags, of course, and there are the make up gift bags. All of these items are unused, although some might have some shelf wear.

I keep a basket of them in my guest room, much like a hotel keeps them in the bathroom. I've often received thank yous from friends who have forgotten their tooth brush or other items. Lately, from a fury of dental check ups and new product sampling, my cup or basket over floweth!

I thought myself very fortunate that a request had appeared just when I needed one. I can leave the given bag at the end of my driveway with no worries. I looked at the bold lettering on the note that accompanied the brown bag. My donations would be divided up and given to several area charities. They are all nearby, but not in my town. I felt a pang then. Should I donate to my town first? Sort of following the "take care of your own" philosophy. It's possible that people from my community travel these somewhat small distances to receive assistance, so perhaps, I would be helping my town also.

I thought about this a moment, wondering what to do. I assumed it was being collected by the local schools or by the Scouts, as they had been in the past. I was wrong. A city church was hosting this donation drive. The church in question had been involved in a scandal a few years ago. I remember it occurred not long after I moved here. This church was no longer interested in supporting a local mission because it didn't like the other churches involved--especially MY church. Additionally, it didn't approve of some of the people who served meals. I should note that this mission is served by many local churches and religious groups.

After this, there was a huge outcry from the metro area The church offered somewhat of an apology and stated that they were still withholding support. This time they claimed they didn't like a few non Christian servers.

So, I ask you, do I donate to this church's drive even though they clearly discriminate against other religions? Do I find a local charity and give my items to them or do I turn the other cheek and donate, knowing that helping people in need is the important thing?


VaL said...

Yes you do donate to this church. Just because they have refused to help needy people for whatever reason, do not withhold your help because of their judgements of others. This is what they have done. Don't follow in their shoes. I would feel free to leave them a note attached to the bag referencing this fact. You are doing the right thing by donating. You are not helping those who have refused help to others, you are teaching them the true spirit of giving. Hope this makes sense.

HaffinaCreations said...

Would it be possible to make smaller donations to several groups, including this one? I understand it is a difficult choice, but your heart knows what will make you feel you have done your best.

Suzbax said...

I feel that you should do what you are comfortable with. I personally would not donate to a group who discriminates on who they will help. But having said that don't we all discriminate in some way.

So ask yourself this question... If that bag had not shown up on your door would you donate to this particular church on your own. That should help you make your decision.

I am sure there are many organizations who would be willing to accept your donation. I agree with the concept of helping your own community because hopefully if you needed help your community would be there for you.

But in today's world we live in a larger community so it is not totally wrong to help those in your extended area as well.

Hope this helps. I tried to present both sides to assist you with your decision. The bottom line is it is your decision to make. Good Luck.

M2bC said...

If you are uncomfortable with this church (and I can understand why), perhaps you can make a few phone calls or check websites of other local, community charities to see if they accept this kind of donation. If you find one that you feel good about, give them your donation. If no one is interested in un-used samples of personal care items, then maybe give this church another chance.

Either way...once you give let it go. Don't worry about the outcome or where your gift ended up. You gave from your heart.

I will go ahead and thank you for taking the time to pack them up to give away instead of just tossing them!