I Apologize

Too many people are asking for too many donations
from too many citizens with too little income. Above my article is a picture of
the pile of letters asking for donations which I have received in January and
February. All of these requests represent worthy causes, causes I would be
happy to make a donation to if I could. What is so disheartening is how few
organizations I can actually afford to make donations to.
All it takes to get on someone’s mailing list is to
give to any affiliated group, and the connections between groups are almost
impossible to trace. If you give a few dollars to a few political action
groups, you are suddenly swamped by anyone with even the most tenuous
relationship to the Party of your choice.
Giving dollars to charities also causes your mailbox
to bulge with letters, envelopes, free things like address labels, fancy
stationery, free book marks, pens, nickels, dimes, not just once a year but
every month, over and over again. No one ever sends us money. Beyond these
inexpensive freebees there are no surprises.
One advantage of this deluge is that, hopefully, it
helps keep the post office in business. I haven’t heard people threatening
lately to close down the US Postal Service, although they might just be waiting
until after the election to continue the campaign to close up an American
institution that people actually like.
The sheer bulk of the mail perhaps has the added
advantage of producing more than enough donation money to offset all that is
spent on the packets to solicit the donations.
I have trouble throwing this mail away. I set it
aside thinking that perhaps I will be able to squeeze out of my budget a small
donation for each group, until several months go by and I reluctantly toss the
lot. I am just venting and sharing the guilt I feel about being unable to
contribute and yet harvesting those address labels and nickels and dimes. I
have invented a new rationalization. When I use those address labels it is as
if I am advertising for the group that sent them. Should we feel guilty about
accepting a totally unsolicited free gift? Probably not, but I believe we
receive the free gift so that we will feel guilty enough about keeping it to
make a donation.
Please accept my apologies for not answering all
your pleas. Keep the mail coming because I might be more affluent one day, and
because of the post office thing.

By Nancy Brisson