What is best way to give total strangers Christmas gifts?

cas66ragtopNovember 27, 2012

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This post was edited by cas66ragtop on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 23:14

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I'll bet you could tell who really needs the money by watching what someone drives up to the grocery store in, then counting how many children get out of the car and how they are dressed...give that mom $100 and it could make her holiday.

People standing in line at lunch generally have jobs and enough money to treat themselves to lunch. $5 means nothing, even though it's a sweet thought.

I wouldn't donate to a charity. The money goes towards general funds and operating costs...and a fat cat at the top. Nonprofits aren't nearly hurting as people would think. They can and do make profits, and much of it goes to management.

That's just my two cents. Wish I could afford more!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:35PM
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I don't know where you live. This is the first thing that came to my mind. If there's a children's hospital near you why don't you ask a supervisor nurse on a floor and see if there is any parents who need to get out and have a real meal instead of hospital food. Maybe you could purchase gift cert. from a restaurant near by. I know this because my grandson is in the hospital a lot and hospital food is very expensive. Or purchase Dunkin donuts gift cards and pass them out. Make sure that you check with the right person in charge at the hospital. It's the only thing that came to my mind.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Every community has a shelter for battered women and their children. While you wouldn't be able to meet the women, by giving to that organization, you would know that your gift would be used in your own community. If you would rather not give cash, ask them for a list of items that the families need. For years, I would buy coats, hats, gloves and toys for the children living in the shelter.

I think it would be very difficult to hand out money in public for the reasons you've stated.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Cas66 - what a wonderful 'random act of kindness' that you want to do. I really like the idea of going to a childrens ward of a hospital and checking to see if any parents need that 'dinner' break. Taking it one step further maybe your local hospice could help you with those who need a dinner out. Whatever you decide to do I am sure it will be appreciated :) .....


    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Too many 'what if's,' cas ... to worry about ... lots of great ideas from the 'Holiday-ers' above ... my 2 cts worth would be 'adopt-a-family' thru local churches or buy toys for the drop off boxes ...our local tv station accepts them ..'Toys for Tots.'

Also if you have a food bank in your area, there are so many items that need 'money' for purchasing & they will do that, too.

All of these things are for 'total strangers' altho you may not meet them face-to-face. Merry Christmas, cas & I like your spirit of giving! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Nursing homes are also a good idea because many of them don't have any one left.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:58PM
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deleted my own post

This post was edited by cas66ragtop on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 23:14

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:12PM
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We give the waitresses at our favorite restaurant some money in a Christmas card each year. We give the envelopes to the hostess and swear her to secrecy. We ask her to wait to give the cards to them long after we have left the restaurant. Its such fun to play secret Santa.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Cas, this is an interesting subject. I've never had a problem giving to anyone I want to. I love giving someone change when I'm in the checkout behind them and they don't have any. I so believe in Karma, what goes around comes around.

I give to the Bread Basket, Toys for Tots and Womans shelter. I also always donate to the Salvation Army. I have always thought these were all good causes. I lost my Dear Mother to cancer and my family donated her lift chair, wheel chair, bed, etc to hospice in hopes to help others who were not able to purchase these items. Guess this is why I'm so giving today. My parents weren't wealthy but gave to so many in their lifetime.

If I was you and was in a store shopping and someone acted like they couldn't afford something I would just offer and tell them you'd love to give to help them out. Don't be afraid they will think your weird. Just let them know your following your heart this Christmas Season. I Love It!!!

There are so many ways to give. Do what ever makes you feel good. Please let us know how it goes.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:54AM
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A few ways we've found to help.

If there's a Ronald McDonald House in your area, they generally have a program for volunteers to make and donate dinners for the families who are staying there, so they can be near their children in the hospital.

I bet your local baby AIDS hospice could use some extra help. One Christmas we contacted the director for the ages of each of the children there--we bought each one an outfit, a toy, and made each a stocking. These poor babies not only were born with a potential death sentence but most have been abandoned by their families.

Rather than giving to random strangers, you no doubt KNOW someone who really needs help--in this economy, it's not hard to find a family where the parents have lost their jobs, or who has medical problems that have depleted their savings, or a senior citizen who has been widowed and is not not just struggling financially but lonely as well. Buy a couple of gift cards (things like the grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc where you can buy assorted things--food, outerwear, OTC meds, etc), and drop them in the mail 'from a friend'.

I personally don't do good deeds for the 'thank you'--I prefer to do those thing anonymously, so your concern about that wouldn't figure into my plans. If you do decide to give to an organized charity, the Salvation Army uses a very high percentage of the money they take in for their good work, and much less than others for operating costs and salaries. However, DH and I generally try to give directly to those we encounter who definitely need a little help. This year we know a young couple where one partner has had several health issues and as a result, lost their job, the other can't cover all their expenses with their salary. They're very, very proud people, though, and don't want to ask or receive help. It's a challenge to think of a way to help them, without them feeling hurt.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Oh, I think the phone rang and I just posted that quickly.

Meant to add: If you haven't read 'The Christmas Jars' yet, I'd highly recommend it, think you'd really enjoy it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:15AM
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This post was edited by cas66ragtop on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 11:47

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:27PM
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I have heard of someone going to Kmart layaway and paying off a couple of people's bills. You never would see them but could have fun imagining them being told by the clerk that someone had paid it for them. You might also ask a school counselor what families could really use some Christmas gifts. If my brother sees some servicemen in a restaurant, he will tell the waitress to put their bill on his credit card.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:39AM
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There was an email going around where it listed the CEOs salaries, for various charities. Salvation Army was the least paid & it was quite meager, not millions like The Red Cross for instance.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I love the Salvation Army. After the 1994 earthquake in So. Cal. they showed up with hot coffee and food within about 2 hours! It might not seem like much, but I will never forget getting a hot cup of coffee while standing outside in the early morning hours.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:03PM
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For the past 3 years, my son and daughter in law, have asked their church for 10 tags off of the angel tree that were asking for coats. They shop on black friday, to get good deals. My son says no one should go without a coat.
I'm just so proud of them for this.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:26PM
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