plumbing. Back then, there were no social services, but churches did provide Christmas baskets to some of the needy.
What is needy? Today's definition seems to be a far cry from what it was prior to the 1970's. Back in the 50's and into the 60's, before food stamps and other government help programs came into vogue, "needy" people did not have food and milk for their children. Back then, "needy" people did not worry about cell phones, Internet, or TV; they worried about basic necessities so they could barely scrape by.
What happened to the children who were raised "needy" back in the 50's and 60's? None of my five cousins from that shack in Grundy County grew up to be deadbeats. They did all grow up to be self-sufficient adults, who never "sucked" off of the system.
If we keep continually giving to every person who has their hand out, without verifying their needs, the "giveme" attitude will spread even more.
Through the years, we have donated to many needy people: one was a divorced mom, working three jobs to raise several children by herself, whose son was killed in an auto accident. Another was a middle class hard working family in which the mother became terminally ill and had to frequently travel to receive medical treatment. There have been others we have helped in similar situations. You know what they all had in common? None of them had their hands out asking for anything. They were good, hard working people who had encountered a financial crisis due to a tragedy.
A friend of mine was in my business the other day, and he told a story about delivering Christmas baskets to the "needy" for a local charity. He knocked on the door, and a woman's voice said "come in." Without ever looking up from the TV, she said "just put it over there on the counter." As he sat the basket on the counter, he noticed several other baskets from other charities had already been delivered. Another friend who worked in a local Christmas basket program last year said he was appalled at the number of recipients who came to pick up their baskets driving late model or new cars, sat talking on their cell phones, and were smoking while they were waiting to pick up their baskets.
Now, I am telling you of my personal beliefs and views, and I do not want you to quit participating in anything if it is your genuine belief to do so. However, this Christmas look around at some other options: There may be someone from your church or workplace that you know is having a hard time, that could really use some anonymous help, but are too proud to ask for it. Another of my favorite places to donate to is St. Jude's Hospital - all children treated by them have cancer or cancer related diseases, and treatment is provided at no cost to any family who cannot afford it. The Ronald McDonald House makes housing available to families who have a child in the hospital at no cost. There are many other legitimate and worthwhile causes who help good hardworking people in their time of need.
Bottom line, rather than just randomly giving, think before you give and make sure your donation or gift will go to a person who truly needs it.