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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks

I had a few spare moments at the office yesterday, so I checked what's called the planner or daybook.  It's a computer file of upcoming stories.

It's that time of year again.

Many of the potential assignments deal with distribution of food to families in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Christmas toys for children in less fortunate families.

I can't speak for others, but let me tell you how I operate.  Photographers are instructed to shoot recipients from the back, or the waist down.  No one is interviewed without their permission.  Getting the story is important.  Preserving dignity is extremely important.

I've never been in one of those lines.  I had to sign up for unemployment compensation once, and it was one of the most difficult things I'd ever done.  I did nothing wrong.  I was entitled to the help.  Still, it was a blow to my pride.  I've never forgotten that, and it's made me extremely sensitive covering stories involving charities and donations.

You may ask, why do we cover these things?  That's easy.  It lets people know where they can get help.  It lets fortunate people know where to make donations, and shows there is a need for charity here in our area.  It seems to grow larger every year.

There is a phenomenon I call "charity fatigue."  So many organizations are looking for help.  It's overwhelming.  You can't help them all.  No one has that much money.  It breaks your heart when you have to decline.

I do have a couple of favorite organizations and they hear from me every year at this time.  2015 will be no different.  As I said, you can't help them all.  Do a little research.  Choose wisely and carefully.  Find someone deserving of a hand, and do your best to help.