In the news lately amongst the bad stuff, are several stories of rich people giving away bundles of money to charity. They can well afford this giving, as they are billionaires who can’t spend it all on themselves and family.
Giving away excess is a good thing, but charity can also consist of giving time and attention, or conducting book sales and volunteering at hospital gift shops.
I was involved in several book sales in a state on the East coast, and whereas I made a bit of money for the small town library, the experience was notable in the lack of assistance that I received.
For the summer-in –the-park activities this one small town held concerts, game days and flea markets on selected Saturdays.
Included in our library book sale was a popcorn sale. The machine had to be cleaned, rolled down the street to the park, and set up for business.
Then the five hundred books and folding tables had to be carted over from storage and set up.
I was promised by one member of the Friends group that she would be there at 8:30 to help out, but she never showed. I think she called later with some excuse but can’t remember what it was.
After selling popcorn and the books all day I was faced with the job of schlepping it all back to the library by myself.
I did it all gain the next weekend and garnered about $500 for the Friends of the Library.
I was elected president of the group and the term was for five years, but that was so not going to happen.
As things worked out, I had to move to California and rent out my house in Small-town, so got out of the business of charity in that state anyway.
In California, I worked as a volunteer in a little library and had many enjoyable hours finding books to send on the want list to other libraries in the system.
The only negative aspect of that job was that I hummed under my breath when in the back prep rooms putting covers on new books. This “noise” was intolerable to the children’s librarian, so I was told off.
To me, a little humming was a sign that I was enjoying my life, but to others it was quite annoying.
I moved again, this time for my health, and to be closer to family, so that problem of fitting into volunteer organizations was solved.
Evidently I had not learned my lesson, as four years went by before I joined another volunteer group. Things went swimmingly for a while, with our work force processing books for a huge book sale.
We joked around, went out to lunch in a bunch, told funny tales of our past, and generally got a lot of work done.
Then, I got too comfortable, and started annoying the boss lady, who questioned my judgement as to which books would sell.
One morning I came in late, and in front of the group I was told that I was making too many mistakes, was not to come in on my own to work, but could work only under supervision.
I said “Fine, See you around.”
Never worked there again, or even stopped by to say hello.
Is it something about my personality?
I fear that I misread the social dynamic very badly, and am being extra careful about my one remaining social club membership.
The moral of this story? You can be fired from volunteering, so be careful about what you put your time and attention into. Charity leaders are not always grateful, and if you are not a billionaire you are expendable.