Life on Florida’s West Coast

What Defines “Needy”?

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I’ve been thinking about programs like the Angel Trees you see all over the place. The concept is that you would take of the paper ornaments off the tree and it would tell you about a “needy” child and the gifts they want this Christmas. Ideally, these are children from low income families or families who have met with misfortune lately.

It used to be that I would pick up one of the ornaments and read that the child wanted clothes and shoes. Their sizes would be provided. Sometimes I would see a request for a modest toy.

How is it that most of the “needy” children enrolled in these programs are now asking for things like Xbox and Wii games? I have not been able to buy my own daughter a game system until his year, when I saved up Amazon gift certificates earned from taking surveys all year so I could put it toward a Nintendo DS. Even then, my relatives bought her the games to go with it.

And yet, when I made a move to help a less fortunately family, I saw a long list of game titles. I can only assume they already own the multiple game systems. Call me nuts, but if I were in a situation dire enough that I would sign my daughter up to receive gifts from charitable strangers, I would be spending my money on clothing and food before purchasing multiple high-priced game systems. I live my life wanting to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but when I see things like this I lose a little faith in people.

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