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.