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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Give for Christmas

Beats going to Wal-Mart
Click here to give
By Will Collette

One way to deal with the crass commercialism of Christmas is to consider substituting charitable gifts. Or supplementing your gift giving with donations to charities you and that person on your gift list both admire.

We should all make a concerted effort to do what we can to help our community year-round, but during the holiday season, it’s all the more important since charities really count on end-of-year giving. Plus with winter upon us, community need is often at its peak.

We have a lot of great local options. For example, if you look in the upper right-hand corner of Progressive Charlestown, you’ll see a candle and a message asking you consider giving a Christmas gift to a child in foster care or a shelter.

If you click on the candle, you’ll be taken to this article that describes how the Charlestown Democrats have teamed up with Operating Engineers Local 57 to fulfill the Christmas wish lists of children who have been taken under the care of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families. The DCYF social workers have collected the kids’ wish lists, and we’re trying to help as many kids as possible by getting them things off those lists. Some kids’ needs are as basic as socks and blankets. This joint effort will continue until December 17th.

Or you can support some of the great local agencies that help local people in need. There’s RI-CAN right here in Charlestown, or the WARM Center and the Jonnycake Center, which both serve many Charlestown families. Or South County Habitat for Humanity. Click on the links to find out how to give.

Statewide, you can support the RI Community Food Bank. I also like the Fund for Community Progress, which is sort of an alternative United Way that funds groups dealing with the roots of poverty.

If you love animals, as I do, you may want to consider supporting the Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island or locally, the Friends of the Charlestown Animal Shelter (PO Box 1303, Charlestown, RI 02813).

There are also many national and international groups that are worthy of your support. Among my favorites, and certainly my favorite international relief group, is Doctors Without Borders. These courageous doctors, nurses and health professionals go into places where no one else will go, giving medical help to people in desperate need, regardless of ideology or personal risk.

I recently wrote an article about a new report on hunger in Rhode Island by the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. In that article, I made a passing reference to my belief that donating to the Food Bank is better than buying some piece of Chinese-made crap from Wal-Mart. That sparked a torrent of anonymous right-wing troll comments more or less evenly divided between those who thought Wal-Mart was just a swell company and those who thought the poor were poor through their own failures.

To avoid repetition of that disgusting display, I am not accepting ANY comments on this article unless they are signed with a real name, one that I can verify. If you want to mount an attack on me, or on the poor, sign it. If not, take it to Charlestown’s other blog (and I don’t mean 33 Bridges), the CCA, where they accept anonymous comments, no matter how asinine or bigoted.