So, it’s that time of year, again, when we get to see a dirty, half-drunk Santa dressed up and ringing a bell outside of the local shopping centers in honor of the Salvation Army. Before you reach into your pocket and pull out that handful of change and pocket lint, take a minute to read this post! If you are like me, then you want to do what you can to help change the world, but at the same time, you don’t want to help make it suck more. While the Salvation Army has helped out many many people, they have also turned their backs on many people in need… for instance: THE ENTIRE GAY COMMUNITY! That’s right, I said it. The Salvation Army is anti-homosexuality! Now, put that change back in your pocket! I have done my homework and have located lots of other charities where your money would be much more appreciated, such as Habitat For Humanity (which has a Christian background, but discriminates against no one).
I recently read an article that talked about a young man and his partner or many years who fell on hardship. When they went to the Salvation Army as a last resort, they were turned away unless they agreed to separate. I have also checked into this and the Salvation Army has a very clear-cut stance on the subject, which you can read here:
To quote them: “There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.” and later… “In keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation. The fellowship of Salvation Army worship is open to all sincere seekers of faith in Christ, and membership in The Salvation Army church body is open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” However, there are numerous articles and stories about people in the homosexual community who have been turned away by this organization. Not to mention, The Salvation Army (which consider’s itself a church) also believes they have a right to NOT hire homosexual people because they are “sinners”. It’s not that this is a Christian organization that bothers me, it’s the fact that they claim to help anyone who needs their help, but then turn their backs when their employees and volunteers will not help people from the gay community. The Salvation Army also lobbies against pro-gay legislation nationally and internationally.
So, before handing over that change to the dirty, half-drunk (and probably heterosexual) Santa Clause ringing the bell in front of Stop and Shop, remember that there are other, more EQUAL charities to give your money, time and donate-worthy items to.
If you want to do something about it, then print out one of these vouchers from Soulforce.org and drop it into the bucket, instead.
Of course, if that’s not your thing, then here are a few places that I have researched and donated to myself that I can comfortably recommend without feeling like there will be some form of discrimination.
RONNIE JAMES DIO- STAND UP AND SHOUT CANCER FUND (www.diocancerfund.org)
What they do: “Formed in honor of the legendary singer who lost his life to stomach cancer, The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable fund dedicated to support cancer prevention research, raise awareness and educate the public with the focus that early detection and prevention is of vital importance when dealing with this deadly disease that robs families of it’s loved ones.”
Why you should donate: It’s one of very few metal-related charities! It focus’s on the idea that “knowledge is power”, early detection means a better chance to beat the cancer. DO IT FOR DIO!
CHILD’S PLAY (www.childsplaycharity.org)
What they do: Improve the lives of children in hospitals all over by setting up gift wish lists for the children and by making the lists public so that people can send the gifts to the child in the hospital of their choice. Child’s Play also accepts cash donations to purchase gaming systems, peripherals and other items for its kids!
Why you should donate: The children can enjoy age-appropriate entertainment that is often less difficult for a sick child to do. They can interact with their family, friends and peers and it gives them a distraction from their illness, which is, of course, very important.
ROOM TO GROW (www.roomtogrow.org/)
What they do: Room to Grow provides poverty-stricken families with one-on-one parenting support and essential items for babies, such as diapers, clothes, bottles, etc. Clinicians monitor the baby’s development at a visit every three-month, while the parents are educated on their child’s development stages.
Why you should donate to them: Room to Grow fosters a teaching rather than just a hand out. Instead of saying “Here you go!” and sending the family on their way, the offer education, as well as age appropriate items and health care. They continue to support and check in on the babies they are working with.
BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS (www.BBBS.org)
What they do: “Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully matches at-risk youths with caring, adult role models. Research proves that children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are more likely to improve in school and in their relationships with family and friends, and less likely to skip school or use illegal drugs or alcohol.”
Why you should donate to them: Their system works and there is proof in the children they help! They do not discriminate! If you don’t have time to volunteer and become a Big Brother or Big Sister, you can donate food, money, clothes, etc.
HAVE A HEART (www.haveaheartcharity.org)
What they do: Improving the quality of life of children who are dealing with, or recovering from cancer or cancer-related illness.
Why you should donate: Let’s face it, cancer is only becoming more and more of a problem. Have a Heart puts an emphasis on children helping to create a comfortable life for children who are in need of a little comfort. Their Kids Helping Kids program is a great way to teach children the importance of helping others.
KATIE’S KIDS (www.katieskidz.org)
What they do: Collect gifts to give to children who are in the hospital with life-threatening illnesses during the holidays. This charity was started by a 9-year-old little girl named Katie.
Why you should donate: Every child should be able to enjoy the magic of the holidays, even if they have to spend them in the hospital. More likely, I would say ESPECIALLY if they have to spend them in the hospital. A little joy goes a long way.
ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE (www.awionline.org)
What they do: “Since 1951, the Animal Welfare Institute has been dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. We seek better treatment of animals everywhere – in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.”
Why you should donate: They’ve been around for a really long time, and their system works. They go straight to legislation, they cut out the middle man and get shit done!
I want to take a moment to say, remember to think locally. There are tons and tons of national charitable organizations, but don’t forget that there are people in need all around you. If you live in a metro area, it may be a little more prevalent since you see it on a more constant basis. Don’t forget to do your research and find out what you can do locally.
Here is a list of some local, Massachusetts-based charities that I have done some research on:
BEVERLY BOOTSTRAPS- (Beverlybootstraps.org)
Beverly Bootstraps is a local group that provides housing stability, access to food, educational assistance to adults and youth, counseling and advocacy. It is completely funded by the community.
PROJECT BREAD- (Projectbread.org)
“Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing and ultimately ended hunger in Massachusetts.”
THE STEPPINGSTONE FOUNDATION- (TSF.org)
The Steppingstone Foundation develops and implements programs in schools for inner city and high risk children to prepare them for college and higher learning and ultimately leads to success in their future.
So, remember that there are other ways to make the world a better place and to help others out than to just donate your unwanted clothing, furniture and change to The Salvation Army. As a matter of fact, try to think outside the box, this year. Donate to a non-discriminatory group!