Pandemic Present

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By John Wiley

As we enter an especially dark time in this pandemic and unemployment crisis, I had an idea. We have saved a little money this year due to no travel and few outings. Others have lost their jobs and businesses, and struggle to pay their bills or to even feed their families.

When we passed the patient line outside a thrift store, I wondered what would happen if someone offered them a small amount of cash. A few days later we tried it. To our pleasant surprise, when we told them of our relative good fortune and respectfully asked if $20 would be helpful every one of them graciously accepted.

We then asked if they would feel comfortable for us to video them and post it online in the hope of encouraging others to do something similar. Again, most agreed to the video and even told us how they'd spend the cash. Most touching for us was the young mother who would buy food for her daughter. So we've started a YouTube Channel with the videos.  If you do something like this, would you be willing to View / Like / Comment / Subscribe or even send us your own photo / video, or post them for us to link to?

Here's the link:

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oceandrew Dec 25, 2020 03:01 PM
Pandemic Present

Very nice of you to hand out $20 to people waiting in line at a thrift store but for them to have to tell you, on camera, what they would now do they couldn't do before seems self serving and creepy.

a-1608938933 Dec 25, 2020 03:28 PM
Pandemic Present

Thanks for sharing your perspective. We look forward to anything you'd like to share about anything you might enjoy doing to help others in need. Happy Holidays.

a-1608951574 Dec 25, 2020 06:59 PM
Pandemic Present

I hope the same reaction is given to every feel good news story, on tv and online, that also features the recipient.

yin yang Dec 25, 2020 07:08 PM
Pandemic Present

Watching the extremely short videos may allay your concerns. I'm sure those who appeared were given a choice.

a-1608939180 Dec 25, 2020 03:33 PM
Pandemic Present

Tomorrow is also a holiday gift giving tradition in many countries. "Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day ... it originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor ... It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire"

a-1608940230 Dec 25, 2020 03:50 PM
Pandemic Present

What a sweet thing to do. Nice to connect personally with others. And I like that some of them are easily comfortable to let you know what a difference that will make for them. I'm going to carry a couple of $20s and see if I might want to share in a similar way... Thanks!

a-1608945906 Dec 25, 2020 05:25 PM
Pandemic Present

I know of a group of professional men who go out around this season and give gifts of actual items that the homeless might need to individuals on the street. Typically these are socks and toiletries and such. I think this group is admirable in that the do not publicize their work and actually go into the woods, so to speak, to reach out. Handing out cash at a place that you expect to find needful people strikes me as the sin on pride. Putting your efforts on line to let others know of your efforts is beyond that.

John Wiley Dec 25, 2020 06:28 PM
Pandemic Present

OP here. My own idea is to invite and encourage others to safely and respectfully find ways they're comfortable to help others. I have no need or desire to judge others, be they in need or wanting to help. Maybe 2021 will see some improvement in the economy, and thus fewer people in need.

a-1608951438 Dec 25, 2020 06:57 PM
Pandemic Present

I somewhat agree, but public displays of charity may help people do more.
I was so depressed about pandemic xmas that I took stock. I've been donating hundreds of dollars, I got real about what I could give and increased that. Like to Feeding America, and food banks in even harder hit areas across America.
I got SB covered, in my giving, through Food Bank & SB Foundation's rental assistance. I will be contacting them & Unity Shoppe and Catholic Charities about rental assistance without strings associated w/fed gov. grants.
Also WCK, Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen.
So many more!
Please do all you can!
(I had a head start, being an atheist of Jewish background, so I don't spend anything during holiday season. Also glad to be done with political donations, which I felt I had to do these past few years.)

Thank you, John Wiley! I've missed you.

a-1608952264 Dec 25, 2020 07:11 PM
Pandemic Present

In case you think I'm just cheap, I have no family and my small friend group don't really do physical gifts, more favors and attention.

John Wiley Dec 25, 2020 10:32 PM
Pandemic Present

• "public displays of charity may help people do more" - That's exactly my hope, and how it was presented to the people shown. As mentioned somewhere in the Channel or video Descriptions, we did the exact same thing at a laundromat and not a single recipient was comfortable with a video (much less on uTube). In some ways it was even more meaningful for us. A couple of them sweetly offered to give the cash back but of course we reassured them that it had been a request with absolutely no obligation, in the hope of encouraging others to give. Everyone we did this with was dignified and the interactions were respectful, uniformly ending with everyone feeling happy and hopeful. • "I got real about what I could give" - Us too! As the pandemic ramped up we dug ever deeper, increasing our support of local and national non-profits. Seeing that line of people seeking gifts for their families got us wondering how it would be to contribute in person. It was a little scary but we're really glad to have done it, and hope to get out again in the next few days to do it again. If nobody else is inspired to do it, we'll probably take down the videos in a week or two and carry on contributing ourselves. Anyway, thanks everyone for the discussion and feedback. :)

Griesel Dec 26, 2020 12:06 PM
Pandemic Present

I tried doing this once but found it challenging to give without appearing a bit patronizing. I do love the idea but I'm giving to charities as I find it easier. I too am glad the political campaigns are over. I gave substantially more than I've ever given as it seemed particularly important this year. I come from a humble background and benefitted in my youth from great programs. I'm now in the financial position to happily help others by paying it forward. Thank you for keeping the charitable spirit alive!

a-1609542970 Jan 01, 2021 03:16 PM
Pandemic Present

I just read this:
Washington Post: "Bezos last year announced he would give $10 billion to fight climate change, and in November he announced the recipients of the first $800 million in spending on Instagram. A Washington Post analysis in June of charitable spending by the wealthiest Americans — when Bezos‘s fortune totaled $143 billion — showed he gave $100 million to Feeding America and up to $25 million for All in WA, a statewide relief effort in Washington state. For the median American, Bezos’s giving was the equivalent of donating $85 at that time.
Musk has given at least $257 million to his own charitable foundation, or less than one-fifth of 1 percent of his estimated wealth since founding it in 2002, according to an analysis by Quartz."

I will admit that I only gave one-tenth of my worth, including a house, to Feeding America. So far.

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