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October 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

I'd like to make a few points first: 1. I know that there are genuine people out there, not everyone is out to con, screw-over or otherwise take advantage of good Samaritans. 2. You have to rely on your own intuition when it comes to people and pray that your intuition is right. 3. This is just my rant because of one too many bad experiences lately with people.

Every year we try to find one family to help, we don't have a lot, but we believe in sharing the blessings we're given, passing it forward, if you will. We always do it anonymously and don't want any credit for it- we don't write-off our donations, we don't make any claims.  How we manage this is that every year I devote a percentage of my annual household budget (yes, I do without or buy cheaper to save money for others less fortunate than myself) and beginning in October, we begin our search. Each week from Oct thru Dec we try to help one family a week with everyday needs.  We don't have difficult criteria other than helping someone who is doing all they can to help themselves (life will just kick you in the teeth sometimes and we know this).  Maybe I'm not looking in the right places this year, maybe I've searched the wrong charitable organizations this year – I don't know… but usually I have more families that I want to help than those I feel are trying to take advantage – except this year. I've “disqualified” literally 14 requests this week alone.

Sob-Stories abound and it's growing more and more difficult to ascertain the real needs from the 'I just want' requests – this weeks' typical story has been:  “I'm twenty-something, a stay at home mom of 2, 7months pregnant, my boyfriend has been on disability for a year, his check barely pays the bills, we need” (followed by a long list of electronics, adult clothes, requests for WalMart gift cards, etc. and usually very little or nothing for the children) One request was for a “single mom with 2 small children”… yet her list had not 1 item for a child on it, but it did contain items for grown men (shaving kit, Axe, even a man's coat size 3XL -mind you, I'm aware that maybe *she's that big…but where are the requests for the children?). And still another, a man, wants money for parts for his van (so he can get to doctor's appointments) but refused having the actual parts shipped to him for FREE…

While I fully agree that how other people live their lives is their business, having pulled myself up by the bootstraps and started over more than once in life, I soundly know that those who help themselves are the first who should be helped – but this year, I seem to be feeling more cynical about these types of situations and end up asking myself questions like:  You're twenty-something (young and capable), yet you *choose* to NOT work, and you chose to lay down (unprotected) and have yet another child you can't provide for by a man who can't help, and you STILL won't try to work? Are you really trying to help yourself or are you just accustomed to standing there with your hand out?

 Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

Like the song says

“You don't get something for nothing
You can't have freedom for free
You won't get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dreams might be”

There are real needs – There are great people out there who just need a little hand and I'll keep digging until I find those families that are truly trying. I needed to stop and vent for a second.Confused