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Where Does Charity Begin?

Did you know that for $11 a month you can help a disabled American veteran have a home designed especially for his or her physical needs?

You probably already know that $12 a month helps caring people rescue abused and neglected animals.

Maybe you have seen the commercials with the boys from St. Jude Hospital who describe how your donations can help a severely injured or physically challenged child lead a more normal life.

We all know the pleas for donations at the annual Relay for Life events that send money to further research in a cure for cancer.

The list of charities, such as these, that actually do what they say would fill every line in this newspaper. Sometimes it’s just hard to tell which ones are real and those that are scams.

All I know is that each of us has to decide for ourselves what cause we want to donate to or even volunteer to help. It boggles my mind how many solicitations I receive in a week’s time through the U.S. Postal Service and email. Apparently when you give to one cause, the word spreads until you are inundated with the latest cause, real or fake.

Sadly, true charities can become pawns in a scammer’s trade. Imposters will send out mailers that appear to be from a legitimate cause. You have to be very aware of who is behind such a letter or email.

What I don’t understand is why some organizations feel the need to preface their requests for money with free notecards, tablets and address labels. I’ve been told these items are provided to charities from companies in lieu of monetary donations. Then these items are sent on to prospective donors. It’s the sort of guilt tactic that has thousands of senior citizens reaching for their checkbooks. I know because my late mother was one of them.

I still receive mail in my mother’s name from dozens of charities. A look through her old checkbooks tells me she doled out $10 and $20 donations to a host of charities in her later years. Her intentions were good, but I cannot say the same for all the causes she supported. You would think after three years of not receiving any checks from her, the mail solicitations would cease. No such luck.

What bothers me the most is that in a country with so much wealth and a federal government doling out money like water across the world, we still have the need for so many charitable causes here at home.

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