Keep The Collection Can Out Of My Face

We've all been guilted into donating to a local organization or sports team that harasses us when we are trying to grab a few things from the store. I'm fed up and am calling for an end.

When I was considering my next Post on Patch, I didn't want to force anything. But this weekend I had some errands to run with my daughter and came across an excepted social practice that really gets under my skin.

Local sports teams and service departments panhandling for change.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for the brave volunteers who serve our communities. I have personally witnessesed incredible acts of selflessness. I am happy to support in any way that I can. Donating to police and fire charities are certainly part of what I do. 

What I don't like, is when I approach a traffic light and a firefighter tromps towards me with a rubber boot in his hand looking for me to donate. I know what this makes me sound like, but I find this social terrorism off putting.

There is the awkward moment of trying fish through your pockets for cash while secretly praying the light will change and then instantly feeling guilty about that thought.

But while these occassional moments of angst are distressing, it pales in comparison to the school sports teams that camp outside of the foodstore and ask you to contribute to their sports program.

You know what I am talking about. They sit at a table, in uniform, and tell you they need money for their sport. Now I think there is an incredible amount of value in sports programs. But for myself, I know that in my community 69% of my taxes go to the school district. 

And that 69% funds the sports programs.

So why are you shaking a coffee can at me when I am racing into the store to pick up diapers for my daughter?

Believe me, I've already filled that can 100 times over from my escrow account when I pay my mortgage.

I do like, however, when teams unify to offer something to the community as a fundraiser. A car wash or a bake sale to pay for an out of state tournament or a training camp in the off season.

But to expect me to be guilted into emptying my pockets just because you angled yourself in the path of the only entrance/exit to my destination is just unacceptable.

So do me a favor and knock it off. Pack up your table and your construction paper sign and canned sing-songy line asking for support.

I support. I'm like a load bearing beam I support so much. But enough is enough. So I am going to implore you guys to stop putting us in this position. Where I have to be grouchy curmugeon who won't donate.

Either that, or I am going to start dropping copies of my tax report into your collection bucket.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Russ Crespolini April 23, 2012 at 01:53 PM
My daughter is 14 months old so we are not at that stage yet. However, one of the reasons we chose to live where we do is because of the services offered to the residents and the activities offered to our children. However, as one of the few who review such spending practices in my community I know that all of the essentials needed to run the vast majority of the programs are being funded by either the 69% of my taxes going to the school or the remainder that helps fund the parks and rec programs. So I find it tough to swallow when a team sits in a public place asking me to donate for their trip to Florida or their summer camp clinic. I played all manner of sports, supported by my parents taxes and did just fine without trips to Florida and expensive clinics. So I find it a little grating to be asked to contribute more when I already have contributed. It isn't as if they are out there lobbying for safety equipment. No one has ever shaken their can saying they needed helmets because the school or town isn't providing them concussion safety. And I know I am going to be the unpopular parent who insists we do car washes and bake sales and pasta nights to finance fringe expenses. Now, while I am happy for you that you haven't seen this, I surprised. I think it is actually more common than not someone is in front of a store when I try to enter it.
Russ Crespolini April 23, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Now, while I am happy for you that you haven't seen this, I surprised. I think it is actually more common than not someone is in front of a store when I try to enter it. Completely randomly I was in the Stop N Shop on the Morris Plains/Troy Hills border and was asked by a Morristown High School sports team that has set up shop outside to donate. To me, that is insanity. And you know, I hesitate to even mention the firemen again because I feel guilty because they volunteer their time and risk their lives. But honestly, and maybe it is just a me thing, I feel guilty passing them by even if I just donated to them via check. So when they have a traffic light fundraiser set up, it causes me agita. Pancake breakfasts, carnivals, phone calls for donation and I am there. But offering me the boot at a turn signal I wish would stop. Now I am not going to defend myself against a point I didn't make. I never said anything about people stumping for relay for life, or the girl scouts or bake sales or food pantry folks. I also never mentioned veterans. There is very little you can do for these organizations OTHER than fundraise this way. They are not included in the payment from my escrow account like these others are.
Russ Crespolini April 23, 2012 at 01:55 PM
The point is, and maybe I need therapy, is that I feel terrible every time I have to say no simply because I can't afford it. I am a journalist, my wife is a social worker. We both volunteer our limited free time for charitable causes that have supported ALS, the homeless and lung cancer. But at a certain point you can't get blood from a stone. Especially when the groups I mentioned ALREADY got their precious drops. So I suppose I need to come to terms with that. But I'm catholic. Guilt is sort of our thing. PS. SIDE NOTE: Shoot me an e-mail to the work account: russ.crespolini@patch.com. Would love to get more word out about your food pantry work.
cv April 24, 2012 at 11:47 PM
@ Russ when I was young we used to get sent home with chocolate bars and catalogs full of novelty items to buy to raise funds for our sports programs. I actually miss those days at least I got a chocolate bar to eat.
Russ Crespolini April 25, 2012 at 02:43 AM
oh, I remember those CV. And magazine and CD subscriptions you could sell too!


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