Christmas Charities: questions and concerns
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
    i work with under privileged kids.  every year we get thousands upon thousands of gifts from big companies, unions, and toys for tots.  the amount of gifts that we hand out to parents for their kids is freaking obscene. (before you start thinking i'm some christmas scrooge troll, i really am all about helping people who need a little something to make it through. i gave gifts to a family of 6 this year- we gave directly to the family and didn't go through a 3rd party like a church or agency.) 

    they are given 2 and 3 trash bags full of stuff per child. some companies think they are giving gifts all wrapped up to a specific child. we get the gifts and then unwrap and throw it into a general pile.  we are giving them fake names and wish lists because that's the only way the company will donate. (and we= my organization, not me) the reason for that is i guess they are just too busy to do it individually for the kids.  So here's the other thing, the parents of these under privileged kids take the toys they get and return them to stores to get money. 

    even if all of them don't return the gifts or whatever 3 bags of crap is way too much.  that's so much more than my kids get.  my sister has a similar job to me but works down in CO and says the same thing.  there's got to be a better way to help and give at christmas.
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
    Oh I believe you. I once spoke with an accountant who works for a major church and he said pretty much the same thing.

    That's why I love & support grassroots movements so much (like Socks for Japan) or the helpful actions like the ones here in this site. I also donate to local charities; people who actually live in the community and are VERY open/transparent about what they do.

    One major charity I like and consider putting on my list is the SOS children's Villages because they also have a pretty transparent policy and you can pretty much pick where the money goes (and actually verify it with a visit).
  • DemandaDemanda
    Posts: 5,920Member
    I know my sister does that - takes the toys back for money.  It makes me sick.  I do the Angel Tree instead, hopefully they're more legit, I feel like they might be since I pick the kid.  
    It really sucks that a few greedy, heartless assholes (yes I include my sister in that category) are going to screw it up for those who need help and would be truly grateful to receive it.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." ~ Gloria SteinemPhotobucket
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
     wow, i guess i never relized any of this. guess angel tree is the better way to go. ill know that for next year. thank you for the enlightenment. sad people do that.
  • OnmylastnerveOnmylastnerve
    Posts: 1,648Member
    Being a recipient of toys for tots when I was little that's not always the case
    not my chair, not my problem
  • ImWendyImWendy
    Posts: 6,529Member
    I had no idea anyone would do that. I sponsored my nephew this year (and damn it felt good considering where I've been and all). His mom only told me to get him two specific things. I felt like that wasn't enough, but my mom told me not to do more because she also got toys from Toys for Tots.  She went and picked them up yesterday. Eddie got a Nerf football, a Matchbox car, and a shower radio. His mom was heart broken. I mean, sure three presents is probably enough since I also got him the two things he REALLY wanted, but the presents themselves are really a let down. I've spent nearly all my money, but was going to go get him more til my mom told me not to. I still feel guilty.
    deus ex machina
  • AnonUser37
    Posts: 1,741Member
    Im sorry....that's just not true. You ARE a scrooge. I work with and see countless families either fiendish down on their luck, or in that situation for....other reasons.

    While a few may return them for money. That is the exception, not the rule. And no, three bags of "crap" is not "too much" for kids who generally receive NOTHING else for the rest of the year. No birthday, no treat for being good, no just because mom loves you she....got you something small. Nothing. Many of them don't receive anything else NEW at all. Their clothes. Their shoes. Everything is used. But not those toys. And the families I know are grateful and the kids are over the moon.

    Don't trash and discredit a charity that has brought so many smiles to so many kids because you're disillusioned and because you've seen some bad families screw it up.
  • DemandaDemanda
    Posts: 5,920Member
    I hope no one thinks I was trying to make some blanket statement there... I just know my sister does it, shamelessly, and it bothers me.  We weren't raised like that and I can't understand what my sister is thinking and it's just one of the many ways I worry about her.  
    I'm glad that people out there willing to help and I know most people appreciate it, and I don't wish to see such programs go away.  

    And I agree that it's not "crap" either - the stuff she gets is really nice.  The generosity of some people is amazing.  
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." ~ Gloria SteinemPhotobucket
  • ImWendyImWendy
    Posts: 6,529Member
    I didn't think you were @mommydearest. Can you report her or something?
    deus ex machina
  • chaosmomchaosmom
    Posts: 4,186Member
    Last year, we got presents from the school's angel tree program. I think its really nice because you know you are helping people right there in your community. They gave each of the boys whatever clothing items I said they needed like coats, pants, whatever & 2 toys each. It wasn't overboard but it was nice to have those 4 presents eachon top of the couple of things i managed to get. They based it off of the free/reduced lunch list & asked who needed help.
  • AnonUser37
    Posts: 1,741Member
    No @mommydearest, yours didn't seem blanket, but anonymous did. She tore apart a charity....that has done and continues to do a lot of good.
  • LoveLove
    Posts: 14,066Administrator, Moderator
    We are big fans of Toys for Tots and the Angel Tree. Both his family and mine were recipients of other's generosity when we were children.

    For people who feel like they're being taken advantage of, or wonder at the legitimacy of the applicants, PLEASE don't stop giving.
    If you must, it's not hard at all to locate a local family that you KNOW needs help, and donate anonymously to them directly.

    Our local churches have their own versions of the angel tree. But they don't take applicants, per say. Concerned members of the congregations suggest needy families for consideration.

    I guess my point is, there will always be those who take advantage. Of EVERYTHING. But there are SO many MORE people who need, than the ones who don't and take anyway.

    community-manager


  • OnmylastnerveOnmylastnerve
    Posts: 1,648Member
    @mommydearest I don't think yours was a blanket statement either. You were talking about your sister. Not the entire charity in place to help families.

    Some people take advantage of every situation or charity does not mean every person needing help with Christmas gifts is taking gifts back to the store for cash. At the time I didn't even know and I asked my mom years later and she said it was none of my business. Which I assumed was a yes and shut up. All I know is because people donated gifts I had a normal Christmas. Santa came and remembered me.
    not my chair, not my problem
  • OnmylastnerveOnmylastnerve
    Posts: 1,648Member
    What @love said. :)
    not my chair, not my problem
  • collegecoed
    Posts: 162Member
    My brother's company collects toys to give to poor kids in the community and his wife and he tell me that sometimes they really question how poor some of these kids really are when they ask for some of the things they do. One child a few years back asked for the nintendo wii, with all these different games (over $500 worth), some not even age appropriate for the child (Call of Duty? Really?). But they also tell us about the kids who ask for things like a coat because thiers isn't warm enough, or school supplies because they just used up their last pencil and mom can't afford to buy anymore for the year. I'm not saying a poor kid doesn't deserve those things, it just doesn't seem right when there are so many other poor kids that just don't have the basics. 
  • wh05
    Posts: 193Member
    Did it ever cross your mind that some kids don't have ANY toys at all?! When I left my kids didn't take any toys with them all they have is books. I wish I didn't miss the deadlines for toys cause I'm one of the families that need it & would appreciate it. Not everyone asking for help is out to take advantage of these programs. Some families really wouldn't have Christmas if it wasn't for programs like these
  • AnonUser37
    Posts: 1,741Member
    @wh05 *hugs* I can't imagine....and you're right, you @love, @onmylastnerve just because some families take advantage doesn't mean you stop giving or that the charity is bad.

    I would rather donate, in the hope it goes to a child in need, than not donate because it *might* go to a family that is raking advantage.
  • ImWendyImWendy
    Posts: 6,529Member
    @who5 Shit. We would have sent gifts! I wish you would have told us earlier. Or if you did, I totally missed it. Sorry for that. OTOH, I'm sure you're teaching them to be happy in other ways. Merry Christmas, hon.
    deus ex machina
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
    I'm the original anon above-  Clearly there are people who honestly benefit from toys for tots and countless other organizations at the holidays. It is not my intention to imply that in anyway that charity should discontinue for those people.  I should clarify that toys for tots as an organization is not a scam. What is a scam is how their donated gifts are disseminated to those who are needy. Toys for tots does not typically deliver their donations directly to families.  The vast majority of their gifts are filtered through social service agencies then to a lesser extent shelters and programs for parenting adults among others.  So it's agreed that toys for tots etc etc are charitable agencies with wonderful intentions. Giving a 7yo boy for example 3 trash bags full of stuff... toys that are neither gender nor age appropriate.. doesn't make sense. Not all toys go to needy kids.  Employees are taking stuff home too (which is not the norm, but regardless it does happen)  I know that @meghann has had a different experience, however I also have worked with this population for many years and in my experience it is the norm, not the exception.  Meghann also makes a really good point-  That some of these kids are so poor, wearing used clothing or even no appropriate clothes for cold weather and they get nothing for the rest of the year.  that's kind of a problem.  Those kids should ideally get the few meaningful gifts they ask Santa for. (IMO maybe 10-15 things) but the kid who doesn't have winter boots and can't play little league because the family is so poor does not need  50 or 60 random toys dumped at their front door.  since people are the most generous at Christmas take donations rather than toys to start little scholarships for families to send kids to camp or pay fees to allow kids to play town sports, charities that get coats or back to school back packs.  no need to get your bitch on.  I'm far from disillusioned.  My point, as I said above, is there has got to be a better way to give at Christmas.
  • ImWendyImWendy
    Posts: 6,529Member
    Well maybe that's why some of them return the toys to the store and get the money? Maybe they're trying to get them coats or toys that would be more appropriate?
    deus ex machina
  • LoveLove
    Posts: 14,066Administrator, Moderator
    Umm well not to be Captian Obvious here, but if that's not what you meant, then more thought could have been put into the thread title... I know you probably can't change it now, since you did it anon, but you take my meaning.

    And I think we've done a pretty good job of listing some alternative means of donating.

    community-manager


  • GingersnapGingersnap
    Posts: 9,696Member
    @anon - would you like to change the thread title? That can happen. Just post what you'd like it to be. 
    image
    “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ― Joseph Campbell
  • CrashCrash
    Posts: 10,571Member
    As an anon, she can't edit.
    Why be a king when you can be a God?
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
    i think agencies are great for those in need, and yes, like any other organization (food stamps, medicaid, help with utilities, etc), there are people who scam the system. it is sad when that happens, especially when there are so many of us who truly need help. i am a single mom with 2 older boys (with 2 grandkids and 2 step grandkids) and 2 very young girls still at home with me. my ex refuses to pay support and is over $30,000 in arrears. i am trying to make ends meet on less than $900 a month and this time of the year is very sad for me, that i cant do much for my little girls (who are 5 and 7). dinner is always here and this year is gonna be small cause i just cant do it all alone. i would love it if i could get help from this kind of agency, and even a gift or two a peice would be awesome, but some people think whatever they get is never enough. some of us are thankful for anything we get. i cant even go get help from angel tree or toys for tots which sucks, but if i were closer i would (i would have to take a day off and lose the money i would have made, and gas, to go an hour away to sign up, then again when it comes in). so i struggle and do the best i can. anyway, what i am getting at is that agencies that are there to help those in need can only do so much. i think each person who wants to donate should be able to see where their money goes, not just hopeing it goes to truly help those in need, not into the pockets of the agencies that are set up to help.

  • CanadianMamaCanadianMama
    Posts: 10,374Administrator, Moderator
    Anon, would you like the title of your thread changed?

    community-manager


  • GingersnapGingersnap
    Posts: 9,696Member
    @Curious - Yes - I know she can't edit the title, but mods can.
    image
    “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ― Joseph Campbell
  • Anonymous
    Posts: 29,074
    just my .02 I have used various programs designed to help needy families in the past. Only 2 places ever gave my kids "new" toys/clothes. All the others Toys for tots included gave my children filthy used toys/clothes. I have since decided no matter how poor we are or how much we need help .. we will NOT use those programs. I have seen the same "parents" over and over again at ALL the charities each and every single year. There seems to me that there should be a limit on how many times you can scam the system. Its not necessary for your kids to get all the charities plus what you buy them and the family buys them. My kids got ONE charity this year but only because it was done behind my back by a girl we know who "nominated" us through the school. The kids each got 4 gifts. Nice new not used stuff. The rest of the stuff my kids will get is from our hard earned money. 
  • shellbell40
    Posts: 2Member
    I can't belive it this year my kids got their gifts we were sponsered by a church my son got used clothes and used sniw pants with sweat marks. Here i thought i would give him a treat and let him open an early gift. Then he gets this plus he goes to the church. Not only that he is disabled and is still upset about this. Don't blame him. Any one got some helpful answers for us.
  • kmetz44kmetz44
    Posts: 2,848Member
    @shellbell40  Can you wash the clothes?  What about the gift is making him/you upset?  Is it that its clothes not toys?  Is it the fact that its USED clothes?
    Im pretty extraordinary in an ordinary way
  • Peace
    Posts: 3,230Member
    Could the timing of this post being revived be any worse?
    The company the OP worked for was scamming Toys for Tots, companies, unions.
    Not vice versa.
    @love, @Sammie, @canadianmama, could the title be changed?

    @shellbell40, maybe you should open & check out the gifts when the kids aren't around.
    See if any need to be washed/cleaned up. The church may have collected them wrapped, not knowing they weren't new or in good shape?
  • fulgurous2003fulgurous2003
    Posts: 458Member
    i think that the charities do amazing things who cares if its used it just means its coming with extra love attached... let me put it this way my kids have not much what they do have has normally been shared with them or they made them their selves ( i do mean made sticks old clothes and some thread go a long way here they have made countless toys) they give toys and anything they have to any kid that needs it toys that they LOVE and already dont have anything else to play with themselves ...I have never seen a kid not want a gift out of love even if it was used that's a parents problem that they like to shove off as disappointing for the kids because they themselves think they are above used items. it really makes me cry to see that and posts like this because its kinda disgusting that you twist something so wonderful into something nasty... if you got something from grandma that didnt fit your kid at all would you not take it back to the store for something more appropriate? whats the diff ? if grandma found an amazing beautiful teddy bear on ebay would you not let your kid have it because it was once someone elses? hell even amazon knows used items have worth they sell used items every day ... it might have been the only thing some one had to give and they gave it out of love I personally would and do appreciate anything given to my kids out of love. To them it means some one cared to give something anything to someone in need 

    sorry its long and rambled but it really upsets me to see this kind of attitude from people 
    "Your children are not your children, they come through you, but they are life itself, wanting to express itself." - Wayne Dyer
  • Peace
    Posts: 3,230Member
    Thanks mystery mod!
    Now pm me what the winning lottery numbers will be... :D
  • gramalibbygramalibby
    Posts: 3,744Member
    I have seen with my own eyes people w lists of what a child asks for and what they received .not big ticket items , 1 or 2 things and I have seen by me accompanying said people go to a Dollar store , pick a cheap breakable item , no where close cause the kid wouldn't know the difference. This I am sure is not a norm but it sickens Granny anyway. These kids like said above get these gifts usually the only 1 x a year. Find a family and treat them w respect. Please
  • shellbell40
    Posts: 2Member
    no it wasn't the fact that they were used clothes. I buy used clothes all the time its the point that they dont fit had holes in them can't be returned and now he had nothing that is the point he us still sad about it and that makes me sad. How does that make me be the bad person. Come on people grow up.