Every day, the media is filled with stories about the difficult economic times we're facing. With unemployment and foreclosures rising there's no doubt that a lot of Americans are hurting out there. With some many people in so much need, it's a time when Americans look to their charities to help ease the suffering. Those of us who can look for extra ways we can help these organizations by donating our time, money, and goods.
Which is why it's frustrating to discover just how difficult it can be to give stuff away. Case in point is a baby crib that we have. It's a crib in very good condition that was passed on to us by my wife's sister. I believe it was originally produced in Italy and when it came out was among the top of the crib line. It's well-designed and made and is perfectly safe. It served our needs well and now that we no longer need it, want to pass it on to a charity.
So far, I think my wife has contacted four or five different organizations and been told "thanks but no thanks" by each and every one. Including a "Crisis Nursery" that informed her that they only accept new items. Now, I understand that there are a lot of good reasons for not taking used children's items, but when you include the word "Crisis" in your group name I would assume that the urgency of the need would cause you to take a more prudent approach to what you would accept.
This experience brings three things to mind:
#1 A piece JB scribbled back when he was living in Boston before Fraters Libertas was even a blog:
To put it in perspective, you are the beggar and you are trying to choose how, where, when and what I am donating. Had I known it would be this big of a pain I would have dumped it all in Boston harbor with the rest of my garbage.
#2 The Seinfeld episode called The Muffin Tops:
Rebecca: Excuse me, I'm Rebecca DeMornay from the homeless shelter.
Elaine: Oh, hi.
Rebecca: Are you the ones leaving the muffing pieces behind our shelter?
Elaine: You been enjoying them?
Rebecca: They're just stumps.
Elaine: Well they're perfectly edible.
Rebecca: Oh, so you just assume that the homeless will eat them, they'll eat anything?
Mr. Lippman: No no, we just thought...
Rebecca: I know what you thought. They don't have homes, they don't have jobs, what do they need the top of a muffin for? They're lucky to get the stumps.
Elaine: If the homeless don't like them the homeless don't have to eat them.
Rebecca: The homeless don't like them.
#3 The Seinfeld episode called The Bookstore:
REBECCA: (Gesturing toward the book) So, you want to donate this to charity?
GEORGE: Well, I assume there's some sort of write-off.
REBECCA: What's the value of the book?
GEORGE: Uh, about two hundred dollars, Miss DeMooney.
REBECCA: (Correcting. Stern) It's DeMornay. Rebecca DeMornay.
REBECCA: (Opens the cover of the book) Oh, wait a second. (Certain) This book has been in the bathroom.
GEORGE: (Nervous) Wh-what are you talking about? That--that's ridiculous.
REBECCA: It's been flagged. I know. I used to work in a Brentano's. Mister, we're trying to help the homeless here--it's bad enough that we have some nut out there trying to strap 'em to a rickshaw!
GEORGE: (Desperate to get rid of the book) Alright, I, I'll just take fifty. Do--do we have a deal?
REBECCA: Yeah, and here it is: You get your toilet book out of here, and I won't jump over this counter and punch you in the brain!
GEORGE: I could take it in merchandise...
Just to be clear, our crib has not been flagged. If you need a crib, know someone who needs a crib, or knows of a group that will accept a perfectly good crib, please drop me a line. It would be a shame if we have to end up using it for kindling.