Ahem. Excuse me for a moment while I position myself comfortably on my soapbox.
I’m going to be straight forward about the intent of this particular blog post — it will aim to clarify and attempt to answer a question we are commonly asked. Please remember these two things as you read on:
One: This is only my opinion and does not have to also be yours.
Two: PLEASE do not be offended.
Okay, that being said, allow me to let you in on a little secret.
WE (meaning Linking Lives Inc.) are NOT a charity. Why? Because we don’t feel that helping your struggling, hungry, destitute neighbors, friends, and community members is a charitable act. We feel it is more of a moral obligation. It is for this reason (and a few others but we’ll start with this) that we have not obtained charitable status and, NO, we do not issue tax receipts.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many other organizations that I support and recognize as being charitable ones. Keeping in mind that my opinion on the matter goes against the grain..I will do my best to explain to you the difference between those organizations and ours.
I feel that charitable giving (and a tax receipt!) is warranted when a situation arises in an individual’s life that can be completely out of our control. That we can’t “fix”. I’ll use the example of natural disaster! Not a one of us can control whether or not a raging tornado wipes out our homes. Or the horrific forest fires that robbed many in the west of their homes, belongings and livelihood. YES! PLEASE give freely and generously to these causes. These are tragic events that occur in which people and CHARITIES do and should respond! They are events that are not predictable or preventable.
Poverty is not one of these events. I would be brave enough to suggest that, particularly in our city, being poor is cyclical and predictable and, yup, preventable. The result?? Helping those in poverty is not charitable doing but I would like to suggest that acknowledging, combating and preventing poverty is the responsibility of each and every one of us.
Given that every definition of “charity” you’ll find includes *giving to the poor* I fully understand that some of you will find it a little ridiculous that we choose not to categorize ourselves as a “charity”. And that’s okay!! BUT.. in making this decision I hope to see a shift (fingers crossed!) in the way that you view poverty and in the approach you take, personally, to addressing it. I hope, with a renewed way of thinking, you will find your voice. That you might become advocates and CHOOSE to actively do your part in helping those who are poor in our community.
OUR community. I feel the need to pause and highlight that poverty reduction directly improves the community as a whole and maybe (maybe?) that helps you kind of see our point.
I’ll summarize. Poverty is preventable. Poverty is man-made and it is, collectively, our fault. If you can afford coach purses, fancy trips and more than you need… then there is no reason for a child three houses down to be going to school hungry. Okay that was a little harsh..
(See bullet “2”.. don’t be offended!!!).
It truly is our duty as human beings to care for one another. Not because we get a tax break but because it is the right thing to do.
We don’t want any of you to be motivated to give because of a tax receipt. We want you to give because it is the right thing to do.
People can’t afford adequate housing. They can’t keep food in their homes. They can’t diaper their sweet sweet babies.
And it’s time for us to do the right thing.
No… your contribution won’t get you a tax break at the end of the year. But do you know what it will give you? Fulfillment. Changed lives. A sense of right-doing. Happy and healthy children. An equitable community to live and grow in and a knowing that the city of Fredericton is spear-heading a movement towards kindness and humanity for others to follow.
“What poor people need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but coworkers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their over abundance”.
I can’t express the importance of you getting involved and remaining an active participant in our fight against poverty. Contact us to be a part of what’s happening in the community. And consider making a donation via our GoFund me page listed below or by etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
All of us at Linking Lives are grateful for any support and YOUR community thanks you.