First off, before I offend anyone, let me just say that I had a fabulous time. Really fabulous. We stayed at a resort hotel, with several pools and a spa and room service and every amenity that you could possibly desire. I felt spoiled and pampered and very much like a princess. Here's the rub, though. Hubby's company gave a boatload of cash to play in an innaugural golf tournament to raise money for a worthy charity. I'm all for that. All for charities. We personally give to a few. This one supported raising money for programs to aid the homeless in San Antonio. Yay. Again, I don't begrudge giving money, or better yet, time, at all.
What I do have issues with is this: For the people that gave (over a certain amount of) money, this charity gave the golfers really expensive gifts. They included: new golf shoes (really nice ones), an Italian leather calfskin belt (again really nice), a golf glove (leather, of course), a golf shirt, and a hat. They also gave a welcome dinner that MIL and I got to go to as well, where they served first class food. Fancy food. Expensive food. Antipasto, salad, bread, an entree that included fish of some kind and an enormous cut of beef filet, a dessert, and an OPEN BAR (The lame chicken and green beans you see at so many banquets were nowhere to be seen). All that for what looked to be about 300 people. This does not include the "favors' that were on the table... a picture frame, little flashy stars, pins (for the people that gave over a certain dollar amount - so that they could be identified, I suppose), cigars, and a gorgeous floral centerpiece. On all 40-50 tables.
And at this dinner, they told everyone about what they were doing as a new startup charity. They gave us statisics on homeless people, like the fact that 20% of homeless children don't attend school, 47 % of homeless are faimilies, the average age among homeless is 9 years old. 27% of homeless children have never seen a dentist. There were statistics on abuse, alcoholism and substance abuse, and lack of immunizations. And they told us that because of our generosity, they'd raised 1.3 million dollars for this charity, which was rewarded with hearty applause.
My question is this: How much more could they have given to the homeless if they hadn't spent so much on giving each of the men (150, maybe?) playing in the golf tournament new Addidas golf shoes? Not to mention all of the other extra stuff. I come from more humble roots, my family didn't give anything to charity; we were the charity. Mom could make a chicken last all week. So maybe I don't know the ins and outs of how these events work. Maybe it 's the norm. But I was overwhelmed with sympathy for homeless, and a little horrified at the conspicuous consumption of wealth all around me.
How did I react? Did I get up and make an impassioned speech about how all these white, middle aged, slightly punchy men were wasting money? Did I get up and leave? Did I express my displeasure at all? No, I did not. I drank two glasses of (really good) free white wine, ate parts of the dinner, and applauded politely at the appropriate places.
And snarked on Livejournal.
Am I part of the problem? I don't know? How do I make a difference? I don't know that, either. I'm confused and irritated and confilcted and a myriad of other emotions, and I just thought I'd share.