I was nominated to take the Ice Bucket Challenge the other day by my brother. I was glad to be chosen because it solidified some thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head since this whole thing got started. Pull up a chair because this might be a bit of a longish post.
First of all, for all the people who call the ALS challenge a form of slacktivism, it’s just not true. This movement has raised about 70 million dollars. The data doesn’t match your argument. Why is it then that I found myself slightly troubled?
I’m ashamed to say it took a Facebook post by someone famous to put it all together for me. It will probably be easier if you all just check out the post by Mike Rowe on the subject: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/photos/a.151342491542569.29994.116999698310182/848469731829838/?type=1&theater
Reading his take made it click somewhere in the scary recesses of my head. We don’t need to jump on a social media bandwagon once every five years and donate all of our charitable givings to one place. We need to be more generous as a nation, as a people.
Those who know me well, know that I’m not afraid of a bit of cold water. Heck, maybe one day when I’m feeling frisky I’ll do the whole ice bucket thing just for giggles. Right now I’m going to put away the camera and try to find somewhere where the plight is immediate and the whole country isn’t already looking.
I was conflicted at first. Where should I donate? I thought of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation http://jdrf.org/ which supports a cause that is near and dear to me. Then I remembered a something I saw recently and my mind was made up.
Here is my PSA: People! Detroit is burning. All over this troubled city, the fires are raging. The firemen there do the best they can to put them out, but they are undermanned and completely overextended. Their equipment is in tatters and there isn’t the money in their budget to replace it. I am going to pledge my dollars to helping these brave men and women save lives. You can too right here: http://www.detroitpublicsafetyfoundation.org/donate/
So this whole rant hasn’t been in opposition to ALS or the amazing achievement of the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s in favor of charity as a general principle. So go ahead, if you decide to donate to a good cause you can go ahead and take a video of ice being dumped on your head, or of you making love to a grizzly bear with a check clenched in your hands (the scratches are murder), but let’s spread the joy around. Find a cause that is important to you and make a donation, volunteer your time at a nonprofit, or just give a granola bar to someone you see on the subway who seems like they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.