Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Etiquette of Charitable Giving (or Can I Give These Hostess Donettes to the Homeless Person by the Freeway Underpass?)

So, what does a person do with a bag (minus two) of chocolate-covered Hostess mini donuts that she thinks taste like cardboard?

Throw them in the trash?
Give them to someone who would eat them?
Eat them anyway?

Is it insulting to give a homeless person food that you don't like? Even if he/she is holding a sign saying that "I am hungry?" If a friend liked something I didn't enjoy, she could certainly have it without offended feelings on either side.

I had a colleague who ate the spear pickles that came with my lunch sandwich every day for two months. They were individually wrapped, so they didn't contaminate the rest of the sandwich, and I didn't ask the deli to stop packing one for me, since G enjoyed them so much.

Of late, our charitable actions have been mostly writing checks to the local and national organizations we support. Effective perhaps, but also somewhat removed from reality. My donut situation is just a silly example of a bigger question I'm pondering over how to best support the many groups – poverty-fighters, cancer-researchers, arts fundraisers – in which we believe.

Anyhow, SwingDaddy believes that it would be a taunting action to give someone the mini-donuts, because they look like food, but aren't actually edible. Thoughts?


Mir said...

Tongue-in-cheek inclinations aside, if you're going to hand actual food to a hungry person, I'd vote for something heavier in protein than sugar. Just sayin'.

It is because I feel like a charity dunce (ha) that I give money and time to organizations that seem to know what they're doing. That way, I'm never trying to figure out the best way to meet a need; I just offer myself up to the people who already have a gameplan.

Hmmm. Is that cheating?

Bob said...

Returning it back to the supermarket on your next trip is the best bet.
This way, you don't care if they'll give you your money back, if they do, so much the better. It'll teach Hostess Donut a lesson too.

Lady M said...

It never even occurred to me to take them back to the store. And now I've eaten too many of them. Oops!

Waya said...

OMG! I actually gave half of my untouched, uneaten sandwich to a homeless person holding a "I'm hungry" sign back in college and he actually threw it away!! Can you believe it?! I mean, I could have eaten THAT the next day, being the broke college student that I was!

Girl con Queso said...

I think I agree with Swing Daddy.

My boss keeps granola bars, vitamins and water in her car and gives them to homeless people.