Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beggars and Choosers

A Giving Tree went up at work today, with two different colored tags on it. One color signified requests from children; the other, requests from adults. It was the first time that I'd seen such a setup, although it could simply be that I wasn't paying much attention before.

The children's requests were much the same as they ever were - mainly requests for toys; although they'd been somewhat toned down from previous years, as near as I could tell. Therefore there were no requests for game consoles or other "big ticket" items like high-end athletic shoes. The adult requests were also somewhat different than what I remember. In the past, they were primarily family-oriented, and had the feel of young parents. This year, the adult requests, like those of the children, were from individuals, with ages attached. But what really struck me about it was how modest and utilitarian the requests were, such as a $30 gas card or a $40 grocery card.

It seemed sad, in a very real way, to look at the requests. While I suppose that it isn't my place to judge what a person asks of charity, I would have hoped for something a little more upbeat, something that felt more like giving gifts, rather than throwing a lifeline. But, when you're looking to do something for someone, its not about you, it's about them, and I suppose that it's worthwhile to remember than sometimes, givers cannot be choosers, either.

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