Charity Solicitations: Zap My Zen!

I’m at the checkout at the grocery store. I brought my own bags, and did my own bagging. I’m about to swipe my credit card to pay when the cashier asks if I want to donate a $1 to help …

some cause. Needy children. Cancer. A food bank. A hospital. A football team. I hardly listen. I usually say “no, thank you.”

Then today after yoga, a bit sweaty (I went to the hot class), I’m asked to buy an insulated water bottle by a couple of young yogis waiting outside the studio. To help…

some cause. Autisim. Homeless. Domestic violence.

Leaving the grocery store, I know I have to load the car, unload the car, put everything away. I’m usually rushing.  I want to get these chores done so I can do something else or get somewhere.

Leaving yoga, however, I’m calm. In that zone you’re supposed to get to during yoga. Zen.  Centered, peaceful, reflecting.

And I don’t want to be solicited to buy something or donate to a cause, no matter how noble.

Call me cold, callus, cruel, uncaring.

It’s the beginning of the holiday season—seems like Halloween and Thanksgiving have been skipped entirely this year— catalogues and charity envelopes are filling my mailbox.

I give to charity; I just don’t like being asked when I’m in the supermarket or leaving yoga. I like project-based causes, like when people collect old sneakers to send to Africa. A couple years ago, friends gave us credits to Kiva,  a non-profit organization that provides micro-loans to individuals world over to help alleviate poverty. With Kiva, you select who you want to give your money to and are informed when the money has been repaid, giving you another credit to reinvest. I try to support women involved with textile businesses or farmers.

Global Paint for Charity was featured in the newspaper’s Home & Garden section. This organization collects donations of leftover paint (money too), to give to individuals and groups in developing nations so they can paint houses, schools, hospitals and more. 

Then there’s Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life.  I decided to donate the proceeds from sales of the book to charity.  Huntington’s Disease was selected because one of the contributors, Dawn Quyle Landau, wrote about  her mother’s death from the progressive genetic neurological disorder. Folk Singer Woody Guthrie, who would have been 100 this year if he hadn’t succumbed to Huntington’s at age 55, is propably the most famous person to be afflicted with the disease.

As I give copies to friends, I’m asking them to buy a book to pay it forward—by purchasing another book, giving it to someone else, telling them about the cause, they’re getting a little book of essays and doing some good at the same time. And I hope each recipient will do the same.

It’s a gamble. I have no idea if this will sell books. But it’s worth trying.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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9 Responses to Charity Solicitations: Zap My Zen!

  1. I brought 4 copies of the book to give away and hope to pass it on. I plan to buy more for the holiday. it is a wonderful way to pass on a bit of sunshine and make a contribution to a worthy cause. We have been inundated with requests from charities and the free gifts. I have been home more (not working on Saturdays for the first time in years) and have been going through the mail and throwing away all of this stuff. My husband has the assigned duty but it has fallen to me. I remember the first time i had to provide care to a patient with Huntington’s Disease. Since it can be passed on genetically, the family was concerned. It is a great cause and one that needs more funding. Thank-you.

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  2. An interesting post. I usually give the dollar at checkout because I see that I’ve just spent X amount of dollars and one more won’t make much difference to me. The danger is that I then think I’ve done my bit. I like the charities you’ve mentioned and will look them up. As for Tangerine Tango, paying it forward is a great idea. I’m going to steal it…

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  3. Everywhere you go, even pet smart has the option to donate to a good cause. I was actually just thinking about this topic…think of all those yellow wristbands for Lance Armstrong. Pink plastic rings at Panerra. There is a website that easily lets you know how much of a charity’s cost is administrative etc…I will search for it!

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  4. milcah maina says:

    i think that was agood idea you hard and it can help alot

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    • I am bothered most by solicitations on the job and by people that run up to my car while I am stopped at a traffic light. Being asked by colleagues to give bothers me because I like to give anonymously. I feel intimidated and extremely uncomfortable when I am approached to give while I am wafting at a traffic stop. I do donate through charitable organizations and at checkout counters; but I seldom give directly to individuals.

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  5. People coming up to the car is very scary. I don’t like answering the door either. Lots of environmental groups still conduct door to door canvassing. You’d think they’d stop given all the risks.

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