Have any of you heard that priceless bit of charity lore, the story of the old woman somewhere in, like Minnesota or Nebraska? She was cleaning out her freezer and down in the bottom, came across a frozen whole turkey with an expiration date on the package that was something like 12 years prior. So she called the 1-800 number of the company that made it and asked whether or not she could still cook it and eat it. The person on the phone said something like “Heavens no! Don’t eat that thing!”, and went on to recommend that she just throw it away. To which the old woman responded, “No… I’ll just donate it to charity…”
Anyone beside me not getting misty at this story of generosity and concern for the poor?
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This whole GIK (gifts in kind) thing is really driving me around the bend, lately. More than normal, even.
I’ve been annoyed with Soles for Souls for some time already. And although it came as no real surprise when Jessica Simpson signed on early to their unbelievably ill-conceived “50,000 shoes in 50 days challenge”, I admit that I was genuinely a little disappointed to see Wanda Sykes jumping on board, too. (Girl… you’re funny, but this idiotic shoe thing isn’t.)
Then, I became aware of Pedals for Progress and thought we’d reached a new all-time low on the pseudo-humanitarian aid GIK front. I mean, with some kinds of particularly high-tech or special application equipment that is not widely available, I suppose under duress I can see how professionally refurbishing “lightly used” pieces and then providing them as GIK in very limited and specific situation might not be wholly inappropriate.
But bicycles? Seriously? Is there a country in the world that is running out of bicycles?
I could go on, but I’m tired.
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Logic and reason do not seem to have worked. So I’m turning to humor, or at least my version of it. May not get the idiots to stop sending their crap to the third world as “aid”, but it will be fun. I’m starting a hashtag. Or maybe a parody NGO – a potential Hand Relief International (HRI) affiliate. An NGO dedicated to “life-saving GIK.”
Stuff We Don’t Want (SWEDOW)
Add your thoughts in the comments thread below this post, or tweet your captions, slogans, bad GIK ideas to #SWEDOW
So far I’m thinking:
SWEDOW – sounds a little like “Speedo”, but a lot sexier!
“I give to SWEDOW, because it’s really all about meeeeeee!”
“SWEDOW – you may not be able to sell it, but you can sure as hell deduct it!”
“Actually clean out your basement; Feel like you’ve made the world better.”
“SWEDOW – ‘cause good aid is just too complicated.”
You all must have others… hit me.
HT’s: @karlincharge for the basic idea; @naheedmustafa for suggesting neck ties and underwear with the elastic gone; @texasinafrica for bringing “Ace of Base” into the conversation; @laurenist for the cat litter; @nobauerm for the outdated copy of MS Office; @zenpeacekeeper for several crates of old comics…
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Other must-read posts about GIK and “good aid”: