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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A giving scale

      People give things away for various reasons.  Taking examples from donations received at food banks and thrift stores, we have a window into a few of these reasons:
  • Frank wants to be seen as doing the right thing.  When some teenagers come to the door at Hallowe'en asking for non-perishable food, he finds something in his pantry that he wouldn't eat anyway.  It might be past the "best before" date, but he doesn't bother to check.  At least he helped his neighbors, right?
  • Sam and Julie have just merged two households, and they have more than one slow cooker, two toasters, two blenders, etc.  How do they decide which one is given away?  They keep the newest or cleanest one for themselves and donate the other one to a thrift store.
  • Bill would like some positive publicity for his business, so he writes out a check for the food bank in the amount of $2,000. He wears a cap with his business name on it and invites a newspaper reporter to join him when he delivers the donation to the food bank. His picture appears in the next day's paper with the caption: "I've always believed in giving back to the community."
  • Linda is thinking about the recipient when she gives.  She has a cute jacket that her children have outgrown, so she washes it and makes sure it is in good repair.  She donates it to a thrift store, knowing another child will enjoy it.
  • Doug and Anna had a yard sale to de-clutter their garage, basement and attic in June.  The only put out things that were clean and useful.  The proceeds of the sale went to a charity.  Anything they had left from their sale was going to be taken to a thrift store.  They organized similar items into boxes and brought them to the receiving door of the thrift store, where the staff checked things over.  One box was not accepted because the thrift store already had too many Christmas decorations in storage.  Doug and Anna were fine with that and planned to donate that box in late November.
  • Dennis gets a turkey from his boss every Christmas.  They have been filling up his freezer because he doesn't actually like turkey.  Finally, he decides to take the turkeys from the past three years to the food bank.  He's glad for the extra space he now has for steaks and burgers.
  • Melissa and her family decide to give $100 worth of food to people in need.  They contact the food bank and ask which food is needed the most.  They go to the grocery store and load up their cart with $100 worth of peanut butter, which also happens to be on sale.  They carry on to the food bank to make the delivery.  They talk to the staff and greet some of the patrons while they are there.
  • Greg is overwhelmed as he tries to move all of his belongings from a house to a small apartment.  The possessions he has accumulated over the years now feel like a curse.  He sees two categories of items: 1) what he really values and wants to keep and 2) junk he has to get rid of.  Greg's municipality has a limit on the amount of garbage can be put at the curb each week, so he loads up a friend's pick up truck twice with category 2) items and leaves them at the thrift store donation area even though it's after hours.
Which donors do you most admire?  Go and do likewise.

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