Saturday, December 15, 2007

Knob of the week (12-15-07)

With apologies to Air Farce ...

I heard on the radio this morning that the Winnipeg branch of the Salvation Army has seen donations really drop ... in the bucket, as much as 50%. Why, you may ask? Seems that some mall operators in Fort Garry have allowed the Salvation Army in with their Christmas Kettles but have forbidden them to ring their Christmas bells, saying they are distracting to shoppers.

Oh come on!

More than a denomination, the Salvation Army has emerged as one of the pre-eminent NGOs on the planet. Even atheists appreciate the good work they do for the community. And this is the biggest time of year for donations for them. Having the kettles without the bells is like a Christmas tree without the presents or a slice of apple pie without the ice cream.

Are these Grinch mall owners hoping that there are some people in Winterpeg who are as beneficent as the mystery guy a couple years back who dropped a Krugerrand worth $20k in a kettle in Manhattan? I don't think the Asper family is that generous. But the CBC reporter (oh yeah, that's another thing, the Aspers would never cover this story, or if so very reluctantly -- they want the CBC to get out of the news business all together!) did an experiment. He went to another mall and saw what happened when the volunteers rang their bells. Donations doubled almost instantly.

So bring back the bells. Better yet, just call the local Sally Ann branch and make a donation directly so you get the tax receipt. Their slogan, "Need has no season" is truer now that some knobs are trying to take what little fun there is left in this season.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Jafo said...

Just a little info to share with you, I used to work for the Sally Ann as a drivers helper for awhile several years ago. You would not believe what they throw out that has been donated. I've seen t.v.'s, clothing, silverware and more that could have helped someone. Some of the people have made suggestions as to how they could raise more funds but were dismissed as "too labour intensive". There are bins behind the South Service Rd warehouse (between Bronte Rd. and Third Line) that continually need to be taken to Thompsons Scrap to be emptied. They throw out excessive amounts that people have donated in good faith. Any money that is found in the pick up spots is usually kept by drivers. That is why I quit. Couldn't handle the thefts and complete waste of goods.

BlastFurnace said...

You raise some good points, Jafo. Unfortunately, the issue you raise with people donating hard goods is common with a lot of charities that work in the community. It happens year round but becomes worse during times of disaster -- people donate clothes, toys etc. when what's needed is money.

And yes, I'm pretty sure there's some self "tipping" that goes on. There are unethical people in every line of business but that should not mean all should be tarred with the same brush.

Personally, I do think it's better to donate an actual dollar amount and let the charity decide how to best spend the money. If I have junk, I try to recycle it. If I can't, I chuck it.