Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Cheer?!?

What follows is an actual e-mail message from work (I've only changed the names of the family members, all colors and emphasis were in the original e-mail message) about our group's Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program which operates in a major northeastern city. Our offices are located out in the "Vanilla Suburbs" with the families being picked from the "Chocolate City." Somehow, this program was designed to make "us" feel good about helping our down-trodden brethren in the city.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED to the Adopt-a-Family program!!! Because of your generosity, we reached our goal of $1,000!! Initially the family of a single mother and six children only requested the necessities: bed linens, bath towels, dishes, etc., but we also wanted to make their holiday a fun and cheerful one, so we asked what each of the children wanted. Last night we used the donations to purchase gifts for the family as a whole and for each individual child. Below is a list of what "Kat" and her children, JaMarcus, 19; Clara, 18; Jasmine, 14; Tiara, 13; Kalik, 5; and Mary Ann, 4 will be receiving this holiday season!!

8 Sets of Towels (hand, wash, and bath)
5 Sets of Bedding (comforter,
sheets, pillow cases)
3 DVDs
3 CDs
2 Sets of Dishes
2 Portable
CD Players & Batteries
2 Cabbage Patch Kids
2 Barbies
2 Beanie
Babies
2 Sets of Playdough
1 Sweater Set
1 Pair of Sneakers
1
Caboodle with Makeup Kits
1 Candyland Game

…and 1 20 Inch TV/DVD Player Combo!!!!

We will be wrapping these gifts today at 11:30 and delivering them on Thursday. Thanks again for helping this family have a memorable holiday!



plez sez: Now, I'm not trying to be ugly or a Scrooge, but does anyone (other than me) see something wrong with this picture?!?

I see something wrong on a number of fronts:
(1) In even the best of times, it would seem that having 6 children would be quite a burden on a family with two middle-class incomes. Now throw in the fact that you are a single mother with a period of 15 years between the first and last child, one would think that this "family" now poses quite a burden on our society. Since this group in my company is providing them with Christmas gifts, I have no doubt that this family also relies on the city, county, and state to provide them with other sustenance to survive. I'm not naming any names, but SOMEONE needs to have her tubes tied - real tight!

(2) I can see asking the children (aged 4 to 14) for their Christmas Wish List, but why in the heck are an 18 year old and 19 year old lined up for a handout? And why are we giving it to them? I will bet that at least one of those DVDs and at least one of those CD Players are for the older "children."

(3) What kind of message are we sending to these young adults and teenagers? Go ahead, be irresponsible and have as many babies as you want and someone else will take care of you!

(4) Who doubts that Ms. "Kat" won't have another mouth to feed by next Christmas?

(5) I love the idea of providing essentials: towels, bedding, dishes, etc. during this time of Christmas Cheer, but why are we buying so many non-essential items: numerous toys and dolls, 2 CD players, DVDs, and a TV/DVD Player combo? Since we are in the northeast and we're heading into the winter, why didn't this family ask for more clothes for the bitter cold weather: coats, hats, more than one sweater set, gloves, mittens, scarves, boots, etc?!? Why didn't this family ask for some books or supplies for school?!?

(6) And lastly and most troubling, the "haves" at my job can assuage their wavering guilt (i.e. White Guilt) by making a trifling and token contribution to the "have-nots" while snickering in private about the entire sorry lot that lack the education and resources to pull themselves out of poverty. When reading about the travesty that is this adopted family, the uninformed "haves" can quickly fall back on any of a number of stereotypes: lazy, shiftless, shameless, uneducated (you should notice that no books or school implements were on the Wish Lists), ignorant, poor, welfare dependent, fatherless (who wants to wager that these 6 kids were fathered by no less than 2 different men?), lack of self-control and impulse-control... and the list goes on and on!

NOTE: I am no longer working in this group, but I still receive correspondence because I'm still on the e-mail distribution list for the group. I did not make a contribution.


And after reading the e-mail in question, plez's wife wrote: ...you have to ask why she's still buying stuff for the 18 and 19 year old. They should understand her situation. But maybe they don't realize it's as bad as it REALLY is since she keeps having babies.

I'm done... just call me, Ebenezer!

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas, ya'll!

6 comments:

D-Place said...

An SLK280 Mercedes for me. :-)

plez... said...

ha ha ha... may as well use that stack to pay on your lease so you can rock that SLK until Groundhog Day. Submit your name to the Adopt-a-Family program and I'll move you to the top of the list for next year! *smile*

vcthree said...

I was a beneficiary of one of these adopt-a-family donations last year--one of three people--and I had to send a list of "gift suggestions". There was no way in hell I was even facetious enough to put $1,000 of stuff on that list. By comparison, my gift requests were pithy--I asked for a couple DVD's and a few gift cards, because I didn't feel like asking people to pool in money to get something I didn't need. Frankly, the entire episode was a touch embarrassing, and I think you made that point well enough in #6.

Personally, if you left it to me, I'd have skipped the donation, gone out of pocket, and brought everyone in that lot ONE book each--or gift cards to a bookstore. (Hey, if they don't use it, they'll give it to someone who will.)

Hell, my own mother banned us from toys in 1987-1988 because we screwed this one toy up so badly (Teddy Ruxpin tape cassete player bear--hot in 1986), and the only thing we could ever get was books. And the benefit: my sis and I are literate, love to read, can have intelligent dialogue, and make our own money. The gift is nice, but I don't think a 20' TV/DVD combo is going to accomplish much for the young ones.

Keith said...

A little bit Scroogey, but I understand where you're coming from. I often feel like that as I walk through and meet the families at the early childhood programs that I direct for a non-profit. It's troubling because they are my "people" that need a hand up and it's mostly white folk giving them that hand. If black people in general were in a better position to help their own "learn to fish" then it may not seem so bad. All that said would somebody please put me on the list for a BMW 530i and a stocking full of cash.

Maplaw said...

Read this whole thing right to the end.....
An upper middle class family in a house with 6 children Father has great job works hard. Mother works a little but really does not need to. Father on his way home from work dies in an automobile accident
family now does not have the income to support themselves as they once did.. How do you feel now about that 19 year old asking for a little cd or dvd player you can get for $40. Now close your eyes and think this is your sisters family.
how do you feel now!!
If you choose not to particpate
your option.
If you don't know the circumstances then keep your comments to your self!!

Maplaw said...

Read this whole thing right to the end.....
An upper middle class family in a house with 6 children Father has great job works hard. Mother works a little but really does not need to. Father on his way home from work dies in an automobile accident
family now does not have the income to support themselves as they once did.. How do you feel now about that 19 year old asking for a little cd or dvd player you can get for $40. Now close your eyes and think this is your sisters family.
how do you feel now!!
If you choose not to particpate
your option.
If you don't know the circumstances then keep your comments to your self!!