He ain’t heavy

I’ve been listening to this today:

Which seems appropriate, what with what’s happening in Japan. I guess most of you heard of the bloggers’ day of silence on Friday, which I guess I kept, but it only really makes sense if you normally post every day (which I’m nowhere near doing). However, I would, naturally, suggest that we all pitch in with what we can. My favourite charities for this kind of thing would be:

Røde KorsThe Red Cross


Leger uten grenserMédecins Sans Frontières

Whichever charity you choose, though, I suggest you make a general donation rather than one earmarked relief for Japan. Not that I don’t think Japan needs relief, by all means, they do, but the charities will route money that way anyway. The problem with earmarking is that if, for one reason or another, they are not able to use the money for the earmarked course, the earmarking means they can’t use it elsewhere. Say the political situation makes it impossible (not so likely in this case) or logistics means they can’t get the right sort of help there (more likely) or they get more money in the earmarked fund than they actually need (it happens, you know) then the charities are not legally allowed to use it elsewhere. Which means they can end up with a big sack of funds and thousands of worthwhile projects (clean water wells in Africa, starving kids in Pakistan, homeless people in New York) and no way of routing the money where needed. I know this happened in some cases after the tsunami in 2004.

Just my penny’s worth for today.

Oh, yes

I remembered one thing…

Last year I read about the Salvation Army in the lokal paper, how they were collecting Christmas gifts for people who lacked the resources to buy them and how people were actually wrapping up junk to donate. People are weird.

Well, it was the first time the fact that this sort of collection was taking place had penetrated my mind, and I filed it away for future reference. However, I had forgotten all about it until Deer Darling posted about their plans for donating gifts. But then I got my act together. We had various odds and ends about the house that were screaming for a more appreciative home. A children’s book I managed to buy in duplicate for the lass, one of the many Duplo boxes we purchased at 1/2 price and that has yet to be opened and that she really doesn’t need, the rather expesive pair of shoes I bought last winter that really didn’t work for my feet but which I had worn just long enough (about a week) to make bringing back to the shop not an option, so I’d considered selling them on finn.no, but not gotten roun to it. And so on. Yesterday morning we wrapped it all up properly and wrote appropriate gift tags. For good measure I added post-its with accurate descriptions of the contents, I figure it will help the organisers distribute and then they can easily remove the post-its them before actually giving the gift to a recipient.

And then we got the bus to town and handed the gifts to the Salvation Army.

Here in Trondheim they accept donations at the Christmas tree in the town square. Apparently the same is true for Bergen, and in Oslo it is rumoured that you can hand your gifts in at Fattighuset. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any information about the collection online, and I think I might send them an email and suggest they add it – it would be useful to know just where in other towns and guidelines for how to wrap, what to give, how to mark and so on.

In any case, I plan on making it a yearly tradition with us. So much of the charity we contribute to over the course of year is pretty intangible and “just stuff on tv”, but even now, at almost four, I think the lass got some of the point of this. And it seems particularly important to remember how lucky we are at a time of year when overspending is urged from every available advertising space.