Confessions from a reformed holiday humbug

By Richard Drace, Board President

Richard DraceI admit to being a bit grumpy about the onset of the holiday season. I grumble when the first Christmas catalogs arrive in September, and I begrudge the barrage of charity appeals that try to guilt-trip me with gifts in hopes I will feel obliged to donate. Yet many of these are noble causes, and I couldn’t support them all even if I were a calendar collector, and wanted more address labels than I could use before my address becomes an archaeological dig.

My holiday humbuggery has prompted me to think about my charitable giving. I believe in thinking globally but acting locally, but with so much dire human suffering in third-world countries, I want to act globally as well. So I’ve picked one charity – The Kellermann Foundation – that does great work in Uganda. I especially appreciate that it was created and continues to be carried on by local folks in whom I have great trust. And I’m gradually narrowing down my local donations – I do better with a fewer larger donations, particularly on auto-pay, than I do with a large stack of appeals that languish on my desk for months.

But worthy causes abound, so how to choose? That’s where BriarPatch comes in. We support causes that our owners and shoppers care about. We invite applications for our Community Fund grants and our C.A.U.S.E. shopper donation program, and we vet them carefully to be sure your Co-op and shopper funds will be put to efficient use. So now for my own charitable giving, I let the Patch do all the work. I pick a few from our BriarPatch recipients, and a couple more like Hospice of the Foothills that I know do great work with great compassion. If you also feel overwhelmed by too many seasonal appeals, I encourage you to consider supporting some of our past and upcoming Community Fund and C.A.U.S.E. recipients at the register and with your checkbook. Please remember, small amounts do matter – “Change Adds Up” as our acronym says.

Additionally, I have a new holiday resolution: Don’t limit your generosity to the “season of giving.” Charities get a lot of well-meant attention during the holidays, but then struggle in relative obscurity the rest of the year. So here’s my holiday message: it’s OK to be a bit of a Humbug if you must, but don’t be a Scrooge.