Two friends of mine challenged me to dump ice water over my head for ALS and a third asked me if I wanted to be “challenged”. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re in the minority.) I chose to ignore the challenges.
It wasn’t that I’m not sympathetic to ALS. For all I know, it is a great charity. (If you’ve seen a “story” saying that most of the money given to the ALS Association is for salaries and such, not for their mission, it’s a lie. Politifact gave that claim a “Pants on Fire” rating.) They have definitely hit the mother-lode in fundraising. One report I saw said they have raised $100 million dollars because of the challenge. I pray they use that money wisely. The worst thing in the world that could happen to charity fundraising would be some scandal.
I had two reasons for avoiding the challenge. First, it struck me as being “fashionable”. I’m not a fashionable person, just ask my wife. There is a passage in the bible that says people who pray loudly and in public get their reward on earth while people that do it in private get their reward in heaven. (I’m paraphrasing). A friend of mine changed that to “karma points” but the idea is the same.
Secondly, I prefer to act locally. While I understand the need for central places to collect money, and the power of a national charity is immense when it comes to research and such, it is easy to forget the local charities struggling to make ends meet and meet the needs of the people they are trying to serve.
And then I saw a Facebook post from a friend saying that the Mountain Mission food bank was basically out of food. They needed help just to meet the demand from struggling families and kids who needed basic nutrition. So, I went to the store, bought a box load of canned food and pasta meals and dropped them off.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not trying to make myself sound “better” or suggest anything of that sort. Not at all. It’s just a choice I made based on where I thought my time and money would do the most good.
I don’t hear it said much anymore, but people used to use the phrase “Think globally, but act locally.” That meant you should think about things going on in the world, but you should pay attention to what is going on in your own backyard.
There a number of charities in town that could use your money or help. They feed families, give assistance with bills or help people break addictions. And most of them work together to make sure no one is working the system and getting more than their fair share.
If you want to support ALS, or Komen or any one of a dozen other national charities, please do…whether or not you make a video of yourself pouring water over your head. At the same time, don’t forget local charities. Most of them do tremendous work without any fanfare. And that’s the way they want it, too..