Monday, December 01, 2008


My wife, Lisa, is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Now, granted, I may have a slight bias here... but I can tell you that it was true on our wedding day. No other woman in history has brought tears to my eyes through her sheer beauty, but she did.

She did again tonight. Not physical beauty, but spiritual. It's not often Lisa can truly surprise me (one of the reasons I married her is because we tend to think alike). But she did tonight, with a suggestion for our holiday charity.

Background - we give some to United Way, Salvation Army, etc; but not a lot. Dad believed, and we both agree, real charity is best done face-to-face, one-on-one, so no bureaucratic pissants get to siphon off the good you do before it gets to whoever needs it.

We always do an "Angel Tree" Angel - providing a good Christmas to a needy kid (or two, or three, depending on our finances for that particular year).

Tonight, Lisa suggested we do, in addition to that, something more personal - cruise the local grocery store, look for (as best we can tell) a single parent with a couple of kids, and pay the Christmas grocery bill.

She caught me completely by surprise - and Lisa can't often do that. But I love the idea, and we're going to do it.

Instructions: "Your groceries are paid for. If this helps you, say a little prayer of thanks when you get them put away and the kids to bed tonight. If this isn't a big deal for you, we challenge you to come do the same thing for somebody else between now and Christmas - pay it forward. Merry Christmas and God Bless."

Lisa caught me completely off-guard with this suggestion, but I love it, and we're going to do it. One-on-one charity. Government uninvolved; no administrative overhead. Just people looking out for people.

Caveat - Lisa's a better people-person than I am; she'll probably be the one to identify the "target", and probably pick up a few "extras" for them - I'll be the one who steps in at the checkout line, and point out Lisa as their shadow, and say "God Bless you and yours - now You bless somebody else, when you can. Pay it forward".

I'm looking forward to this.

Screw the government, I'll do charity MYSELF without their "help". Thanks, Daddy, for the right attitude on this.


Blogger George said...

Excellent! We had a Food Drive going at my Yacht club three weeks ago, and collected a barrel of food, then we passed the hat and I forked over a sawbuck. When the moolah was counted, it was $120. The Kroger chain was having a sale that gave you a free LARGE turkey if you spent $150, so I leaned over to the counting member, gave her another $30 and told her to make sure she picked up the turkey.

The "pay it forward" came when she stood up at New Business, told everyone what I'd done, and challenged them to respond. Enough additional money was collected to buy an additional 319 pounds of food (not quite enough for a second turkey, though).

We have bottle redemption here in OR, and I haven't redeemed one yet. I save up the bottles and cans until I have two large trash bags full, then haul them down to the redemption center, pick out the most deserving-looking individual and hand them the sacks full of cans.

I've actually made two old men cry with this charity, and the smiles would light up the parking lot at night.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Aaron Neal said...

Dad always said, "One-on-one is the way to do charity - no beuracraps, no overhead". And he lived by that, and very generously.

Damn, I wish you could have met him, George... he might have convinced you to move down here to Texas :)

Not to make this a political issue, but it does seem that social conservatives/traditionalists seem to be very generous, in targeted ways, while social liberals/secular progressives seem to want the gov't to do it for us and spread it around willy-nilly... at the threat of the point of a gun (ie, force via gov't).

Something to think about, when thinking about who REALLY tries to help out their fellow human.

11:22 PM  

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