Charities. Robin Hood in Reverse?

It is a noble thing to be involved in charity work. Everyone would agree with that. Especially if it is done voluntarily with no form or shape of remuneration. We do it because it makes us feel good. Good about ourselves, good about life in general. Good to know we do something for the needy, the under-privileged, the homeless, the lowly, the cast-outs and the drop-outs, the elderly and the orphaned.

We organize fundraisers to pay for all these services of compassion. The feeding schemes, soup-kitchens, the clothing schemes, the blankets in winter, the picnics in summer, the dinners and outings and treats. At the end of a hard days work doing good deeds, we sit down in our Lazyboys feeling warm and fuzzy inside because of all we have accomplished.

What do we accomplish? We put food in an empty stomach. We put clothes on a child shivering from the cold, because his parents are drunk. We hand over a blanket to a person sleeping on a cold sidewalk. We make the world better, one life at a time. This is all very good and noble and no one can deny that.

How do the receivers of these charity work feel about it? Let’s ask them.

We are thankful. Without it, we won’t survive. We look forward to receiving the next gift. Because we know it is coming. Don’t worry about today. Tomorrow there will be a donation. But tomorrow does not always bring a donation. Disappointment. Then days and weeks pass before the next gift is handed out. We sink into despair. No way to make our own living, we flee reality into the arms of intoxication to ease the pain, the hunger, the cold. We sink deeper and deeper because there is no way out.

Why does it take so long? Why are the gifts often so few and far between? Why are the gifts often so little?

On investigation it was found the many a gift never reaches the rightful receivers. Large grocery chains send truckloads of food to shelters and homes. But they do not always reach their destinies with all the stuff they left the store with. How many witnesses are willing to testify that they was a truck pulling up in a parking bay, uploading bags filled with groceries into the boot of a car? How many neighbours will testify that they saw a truck backing up into the driveway next door, unloading stuff into the garage before delivering to a shelter or home?

The next day a worker from the store asks someone from the shelter how they enjoyed the feast of steak and veg and pudding that was sent over. The person might answer something like: “What feast? We had bean and cabbage soup for lunch.” “What about the malva pudding and custard that was sent over yesterday?”  “Pudding? Are you crazy? We live in a shelter. We don’t get pudding. Ever.” So, what happened to the feast? At what point between shop and shelter did it disappear? We might never know. All we know, is that many donations to shelters and homes have been terminated because of this very thing happening.

So what do we accomplish? We actually steal from the poor. But what does the poor have that we can steel? Apart from the donations that fall into the cracks somewhere along the way?  We steal their dignity. We steal their motivation to help themselves. We even steel the opportunities to help themselves instead of creating opportunities. Most of all, we steel their freedom. We control them. We serve in committees  to help the, but we force them into puppethood. If they don’t do as told, we kick them out, or worse: We close the shelter, or home.

This is a Robin Hood in reverse, steeling from the poor and giving it to those that does not need it – this good thing that we do. What is the solution? Think about it and we will talk about it in my next blog.

Magdel Roets
Poet & Writer of Christian Faction, Non-Fiction and Fiction.




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