New York Cares Secret Santa
November 30, 2001 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Holiday season comes to all, including those without an Amazon wishlist. New York Cares has a Secret Santa program where volunteers pick up letter(s) from [a] child(ren) from homeless shelter(s) and buys them gifts requested in the letter(s). There is a similar program in Charlotte, N.C. The Chicago Bar Association co-ordinates one such program in Chicago with the USPS. Salvation Army runs the effort in Annapolis. While not quite giving toys, Canada Post organizes a letter from Santa program. I am sure there is something similar near where you live.

[As G-d/Allah would have it, this year both the eighth night of Chanukah and Eid-ul-Fitr, the feast celebrating the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan, will fall on December 16th. An $18.00 gift can feed "a month's worth of nutritious lunches for an Ethiopian child in Israel." There are also other Israeli/Jewish charities. There are various Muslim charities and organizations that help the poor and war-torn Muslim women, children and orphans around the world.]
posted by tamim (17 comments total)
Let's not forget the USMC Reserve Toys for Tots program. From the website:

From 1991 through Christmas 2000, the Foundation supplemented local toy collection campaigns with over 29,000,000 toys valued at nearly $140,000,000.
posted by taumeson at 9:35 AM on November 30, 2001

RUN /Salvation Army Bell.wav/

Nice, uncontroversial post. Thanks for the change : )
posted by ParisParamus at 9:46 AM on November 30, 2001

How come GOD makes you pretend not to spell his name by writing it out as g-d but Allah, not one to shy away from regulatory matters, is down with his tag ??

Isn't it time someone leveled the playing field for all the world's competing systems of beliefs? Standards are good, while deviants are bad

posted by BentPenguin at 9:58 AM on November 30, 2001

As are my links...
posted by BentPenguin at 10:00 AM on November 30, 2001

Jews don't spell out the Almighty's name; Muslims, to my knowledge, have no such tradition.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:01 AM on November 30, 2001

Anyway, Allah is not the name, merely the English translation.

And as to spelling, God is fine it is the Tetragammatron (man oh man, love that word), that should never be spoken. You can write it out (loosely it YHWH, but again, a translation from the orginal Hebrew and thus not accurate) but never ever speak it.

Now then, we were talking about giving gifts or money to people? Dammed fine idea.
posted by Dagobert at 10:10 AM on November 30, 2001

I have always wondered how people choose among all the worthwhile causes out there. This posting identifies a few good programs. But, what about the thousands that are also doing a good job and don't always get the publicity? How do you resolve this personally? Remember, there are hungry people(including kids) in all cities in the US.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 10:23 AM on November 30, 2001

Actually, it's Tetragrammaton (not tetragammatron). But who's spelling? And, yes, you still gotta love it even if you can's say or spell it. .

Oh yeah... charity is good.

posted by sheizaf at 10:43 AM on November 30, 2001

Tetragammatron? Sounds like one of the Decepticons, if you ask me... "Autobots, transform!"
posted by hincandenza at 11:13 AM on November 30, 2001

My love of cheesy 80's movies will be my spelling downfall
posted by Dagobert at 11:14 AM on November 30, 2001

I think Tetragrammatron was just after the Light-Cycle race on the Tron Arcade game.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:34 AM on November 30, 2001

Check in with your local department of children and families...they can point you to local charities that run these kind of Santa programs.
posted by kittyloop at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2001

what about the thousands [of charities] that are also doing a good job and don't always get the publicity? How do you resolve this personally?
I didn't plan on this post to be about only the linked charities/programs or a 'G-d/God/Allah' discussion.

I signed up as a volunteer for New York Cares in 1996. I have helped out on a few New York Cares days. It's more of a local thing. All Secret Santa volunteers usually go to the NY Cares offices at Union Square to pick up a letter they want to respond to. One year the random letter I picked asked for only two boxes of crayons! It's Christmas time, and these kids don't want 'the toy of the day,' but something they need but don't have. It is very touching just reading through some of the letters in the box.

I linked to several other similar programs around the country. This year, it's just not Christmas, but Chanukah and Eid at the same time as well. I am sure the disadvantaged Jewish and Muslim kids won't mind getting a gift.

I am sure many others at MeFi supports similar programs, gives to similar charities, or volunteers at their local soup kitchen. I encourage you to link to things you participate in. With all the 'MeFi-get-together-plans' floating around, some MeFiers can meet up at their local charity event to help out too.

I really don't want to put a "link to (or what's) your favorite charity" in a post. That's not appropriate. I hoped others would instinctively link to similar local charities/programs as taumeson did.
posted by tamim at 12:00 PM on November 30, 2001

Carol- This is true in other states, too. Unfortunately, this is driven by the NPO's need to show low marketing expenditure. When you hire a professional fund-raiser, what they bring in is shown as revenue. The costs are unaffected. There have been cases when fund-raisers held on to extremely high amounts. There is no legal recourse to the donor- it is just the usual caveat emptor stuff.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 1:16 PM on November 30, 2001

I remember reading an article years ago that brought a tear to the eye....part of the many wonderful things the Salvation Army does is send presents to the children of prisoners. I forget exactly how it worked, but they got a list of convicts' kids, ages, wish lists, etc, and then would send the children presents from Dad (or Mom) with a ficticious return address, because apparently many of the young'ins didn't know their parent was in jail. It was a very moving story, and has prompted me to always throw something in the red kettle this time of year.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:47 PM on November 30, 2001

Reading that a child asked for only 2 boxes of crayons is truly heart-breaking. My kids have so much. If anyone knows of a Secret Santa programme in the Toronto area, would they please post the link. Thanks.
posted by zane9 at 6:37 PM on November 30, 2001

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