Sorry… This wallet is closed.
[Something Uncharacteristically Serious, and Non-Humourous]
If I get one more flyer, email, or person at my door wanting me to “open my heart” (by opening my wallet), I’ll puke. My heart, and my wallet are closed.
I understand that people need help. The earthquake, the hurricanes, the tsunami, the diarrhea – whatever the hell the problem is – I’m can’t give any more. I’m “disastered out”. There are posters in the bank, the mall, the post office. Fuck, there was even a poster in the bathroom of the doctor’s office. Give, Give, Give, Give.
When I paid for gas this morning, the guy at the counter asked if I wanted to donate my change to the earthquake relief.
[ME] Donate my change to what?
[HIM] The earthquake relief, for the earthquake in Pakistan.
[ME] My change is $25.00.
[HIM] Yeah, you could donate it to the earthquake fund. Or, even just a part of it.
[ME] No. I think I’m going to donate to the ME fund today. The government is sending $20 million anyway.
Then, he just gives me this look, like I’m some kind of heartless bastard. I’m not a heartless bastard – I’m just tired of sending money, or giving money to people who come banging on my door – or being harrassed everytime I go to buy something, and they ask me to donate more.
The $20 million that Canada is sending pretty much came out of my pocket anyway. Well, mine and everyone else’s. Couldn’t that $20 million be put to better use? It will make me sound like a prick, but – I can think of plenty of things they could do with $20 million – right here at home.
Winter is fast approaching. There is usually snow on the ground by Halloween, and if what those fucks at The Weather Network are saying, it’s going to be a long one. Anyone who lives in Ontario knows that temperatures often hover at -20 to -25 for the majority of the season. It’s hard to keep warm.
So, imagine how hard it is for families who have no way to pay for their heating fuel this winter. Or, what about the kids whose parents can’t afford snow suits, mittens or toques? Or worse, the people who live on the streets? People here are going to die this winter. Why send my money overseas?
The City of Toronto has trouble keeping shelters open. There never seems to be enough money to make sure that the homeless are taken care of. That they are warm and safe, out of the cold. And, every day, some poor homeless bastard has to be pried off the metal grate that his body has frozen to. Or, he has to be chiseled out of a snowdrift. Even worse than those that have died, are the ones whose hands or feet have frozen solid. Kids too. This happens here. In my country. Why send my money overseas?
There are kids with empty bellies, and mothers who can’t afford formula for their newborns. Dental work, prescription drugs, glasses, clothes. Needed here. And, if it wasn’t for the generosity of people here, they would have to do without. Our government doesn’t give two shits about the young, the homeless, or the hungry here at home, yet they send $20 million dollars overseas. I know that the earthquake killed nearly 30,000 people. But, they are dead. $20 million dollars won’t bring them back. That $20 million could build or fund a shelter or two, and there’d still be money left over to help Canadian families in need. Not by giving them a cheque – but by making sure they have what they need.
Donating money does nothing, because the first thing that happens, is some kind of bullshit “administrative fee” is taken off the top, and put neatly into some asswipe’s pocket. That $25 that I didn’t give to the guy at the gas station? I bought the guy sleeping on Front Street a sandwich and a hot coffee. And, when it gets colder, we’ll donate boots and a snowsuit or two to the Adopt-A-Child program. My wife and I will shop for food to donate to the food bank, and our kids will donate some of their toys. Like we do every year.
Pakistan is not a priority for me. And, neither will be the next country hit by disaster. The money that I save by not donating, can be used here. Helping to feed the people who live in the community where I live and work.
Call me a heartless bastard, but charity begins at home.