Is Charity Always Right?
Feeling ill and bolting through town to pick up my prescription and catch a morning lecture in time, I am made to feel even worse by a charity worker who grabs me. These admirable people who give up their time to work for a cause are often the nightmare obstacle to the everyday shopper and are therefore dodged. But who can blame these shoppers? I am not wholly cynical when it comes to charity, but the problems surrounding the collection methods of charitable organisations are often a taboo topic; anyone who dares to confront these methods are accused of being heartless and uncharitable.
Being asked for £8 a month, especially when you’re a student, is a huge request from a stranger. Yet as we stand there, waiting for them to take a breath so we can politely decline, we are made to feel guilty, embarrassed and ultimately irritated. It doesn’t stop there either: off-campus students hold the short straw when it comes to receiving cold calls and knocks at the door. Even at home we cannot escape the stranger with a clipboard staring right at you. It is even worse for elderly and vulnerable people.
When faced with more than knowing what to do with spare change, when bigger donations are at hand, there are 161,614 registered charities inEnglandandWalesto choose from. Though this is not merely a choice, with every charity pleading for you to choose theirs and sometimes even that is not enough. Often when you have decided to give money monthly to your chosen charity you receive requests to give more, thus it is easy to feel pressured or like your good deed is being thrown back at you. There is a great deal of emphasis on giving money, and subsequently being made to feel guilty for not giving money to charities in this country. We are made to feel like bad people, even if we don’t agree with, or feel passionately about, the cause that the bucket-shakers are raising money for.
It seems as though the essence of charity has been lost not only through corruption or cynicism, but through what we have largely come to associate charity with: money. It has long been forgotten that charity can take the form of literally helping others and not just handing over cash; it can be helping someone with their shopping, walking someone’s dog, even proofreading a friend’s work! It is great if you can give to charity, but don’t fall into the habit or fool yourself that giving money and expecting people to put it to good use on your behalf is the only form of charity out there. Sometimes we merely need to take a second and think about the small things we can do for others, especially those closest to us.
Georgina M Parker
This article has been reproduced here by the Concourse Deputy-Editor Design. The original author is credited above.