Just my take on

JANUARY 16, 2012 7:46PM

The $12.50 vs. $50,000.00 gift bag

Rate: 30 Flag

Daisy Jane/Dirty Harry pushed my compassion buttons this morning, and I went out into the world to do good.  I was going to post not about what I did, but about a small thing perhaps some OSers might like to do that would be meaningful to a few of the overwhelming number of desperados here in america.

Before today, I had driven around with a lot of cheese crackers with peanut butter in my glove compartment to give to people on street corners holding signs asking for help.  (I'm routinely at one particular intersection that's frequented by the homeless because of the long light.)  On a teacher's salary (in the historically el cheapo commonwealth of Virginia), I can't afford to give money.  But Smithee inspired me to make "gift bags" with more than p.b. crackers inside.  Setting aside my efforts to not buy products from China (meaning I didn't even look), I went to Target and here's what I got:


Little toothbrush and toothpaste, Ensure chocolate shake, pull-on hat, gloves, 4 anti-bacterial wipes, a foilpack of tuna, two slim jims, lotion, kleenex, white chocolate covered pretzels, cinnamon applesauce, raspberry juice box, some kind of protein bar, gum, raisins, some whole-grain frosted mini-wheats, and two of the ever-popular cheese-p.b. crackers.  Tried to go for protein.  I got enough for six bags, for around $75.00.  I was thinking perhaps I should divvy things up to make twelve bags instead.  Then... 

Then I remembered the Golden Globes awards that I saw briefly as my host last night flipped through channels during football game commercials.  I licked my lips as the camera panned over the bottles of chilled Moet champagne.  But then the magnificence on display made me angry.  The jewels, the gowns, the opulence at any other time might have been fun to see, but the idea that these overpaid and self-insulated millionaires didn't have the sensitivity to tone things down a bit at this annual "We'refuckingawesome-fest" when so many of their fellow citizens have lost everything, are out on the streets, living in cars or boxes or tents in the woods.  I'm not even talking about the people on the edge of the abyss, people going without needed medicine so their children can eat, people with the wolf at the door, and so much more I can't start listing because I'll implode.  Fucking liberal Hollywood, my ass.  Yes, yes, I know that many "celebrities" and "media personalities" (WTF is that and who needs them?) do good things and donate time and money to causes, but there is much to be said for sending an unspoken message when everyone's watching.

And THEN I remembered the seriously tacky practice of giving gift bags to these people who have every material need more than taken care of.  I was able to attach this video, but I don't know how to make the ad go away.  It's worth it if you can get through that.

"Stars have everything....We want them to have a little break, because after all, being a star can be pretty stressful."  That $50,000.00 gift bag represents more than my net pay for the year.  That $50,000.00 gift bag could have gone a very long way (especially multiplied by the number of them) toward helping people who DON'T have everything, who truly need a HUGE break, because after all, being homeless can be pretty stressful.

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"Afterall, being a star can be pretty stressful" ?? Yeah.. uh huh

Yeah, well. I was foreclosed and it was not my damned fault. I was EXTREMELY lucky to land somewhat on my feet, though still marginalized. It was enough to scare me terribly and I can so relate to those who have tried and tried, only to find themselves without anything. I too could be right back in that same spot tomorrow for all I know.
Screw Hollywood and screw the rich. So cool about your gift-bags. I am inspired GD..
What a lovely, thoughtful gesture on your part. And, indeed...I wish celebrities would do more day to day things like rejecting gift bags -or donating proceeds (although I'm sure a homeless person might like the fur boot covers) - without fanfare. My $25 donation costs me as much, if not more than a celebriteies $250,000.00 - and those are still too rare. GREAT post!
What a great post! I would love to read a follow-up on your experience of giving these gift bags out in your community. It might inspire more people to help. Thanks for sharing this . . .
Being a star *must* be really stressful. Much more so than a homeless person.
I love this post, I love the whole idea. You have given me a practical way to give... ~r
really lovly and so well-written r.
tr ig--there but for the grace of God go i, right?
aim--what were they called? CovFurs? Puke. So right about the ratio of giving. Bless you for what you do.
EB--I will let you know but there's not much time when the light turns green. I can, however, set up a project at my school and maybe spread to others via SCA.
harry--this is all your fault (jewels in your crown in heaven, as my mother would say).
Joan, let's start a movement!
Kate--true that. Thanks for reading!
What a great contrast between your gift bags and the celebrity gift bags. The great divide is getting wider. If I were rich I would be worried. But I will never be rich because I give it all away.
In my town, the food kitchen collects new or good condition backpacks, fills them with other donated items ranging from socks and gloves to toothpaste, and then distributes them. It allows people to donate as much or as little as they can. Everyone seems to appreciate having the backpacks to carry possessions in. The need and number distributed grows each year, with is disturbing. But the donations grow too, which is good.
What a cool juxstaposition. No excuse for it really those gift bags --considering that people sleep on sidewalks in this country. But, people have a way of making strange excuses to justify insane levels of pamperings.
Your gift bag thing is lovely. If everyone did it we'd be ok. If just one bozo celebrity sold one of their mansions and donated the proceeds they could feed a few cities for awhile.
"We'refuckingawesome-fest" Yes, let us occupy these. Capitalism Shmatilism. Let's storm all these Versailles's.
Righteous post, GD. Off I go to storm my couch.
Jonathan, thank you. Means a lot coming from you.
i heart zanelle.
jlsathre--what a great idea. I will add backpacks to the project I try to get the SCA to do.
Firechick--you have the best name. Thanks for the support.
fernsy--Occupy Awards is not a bad idea. But now, like you, I'm occupying my bed. Sleep well, love.
Being a very successful writer, GD, I have to tell you, it is a very stressful job, writing these great selling books, then having to write the screenplay, and hang around with the stars as they mangle my dialog I worked so hard to write. But, as I didn't win a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay again this year, I'm giving my basket to charity. Everything except the small tin of caviar. I think it would make the poor sick, it being so rich in Russian Sturgeon eggs and all. But the rest is up for grabs. You're right, this feels so good!:-)
Good for you! There's no way of knowing who is on the edge and sometimes a simple kindness is enough to keep someone going a little longer. I'm sure most people here give a much larger percentage of their income every year.
At least YOU'RE doing God's work.
Love this post.
Thanks, Good Daughter.
Set the whole world on fire.
Scanman, i love your smartass streak.
l'Heure Bleue, yes, so many are teetering.
old new lefty, you are too kind, but i thank you very much.
Kim, well, at least i've got a match lit under myself. If I can spread this idea to my school, there's a whole candle!
Good on you. Screw the stars or so called stars and their excess, there is a special place in hell for them. I hope anyway. Maybe if someone could forward this to them, or everyone puts it on their facebook it will trip a switch somewhere. I am going to do that, but in the mean time, good on you.
good on you.

I'm out in the boonies, but when I'm in the city and pass a homeless person, I give a bit.

there are religious outfits that go around in toronto handing out bottled water during heat waves and mittens, hats and hot soup in the winter.
Awesome! What a great idea! Amen to the pampered Hollywood stars, the video makes me ill. Gag! Great post. Rated!!
What I meant to say was Amen to "fuck the Hollywood celebrities." As if they need more. Grotesque.
I've tried the gifting thing. Practically adopted two guys in my area. Gave them decent clothes, bought them new shoes,took groceries in a bag to them so they could have a decent Thanksgiving, told a landlord that I thought they would be good candidates for a Sec. 8 housing unit.
Never gave cash. It went on for a year.
They got busted selling heroin a few blocks from a school and my house. That was deflating.
I limit my giving now to organizations that have a track record. It's sad no matter how you look at it.
Sheila, i can't imagine they don't realize the crudeness of it all. Some big deal awards show was cancelled or at least postponed because of it's closeness (in time) to 9-11. I mean no disrespect to 9-11 victims, survivors, or their families, but it just seems that people have to die on TV before any modicum of decency kicks in, and that's only for some and the rest are followers. Honestly, I'm not condemning everyone--God knows i have my faults and selfish streaks--but you would think that, at the very least, PR would matter.
Myriad, that's great. Definitely some life or death giving there.
Erica K, grotesque is the word for it, all right; it's like some Hieronymus Bosch painting.
AKA, that just sucks. What love and generosity you showed them. Heroin. SELLING it. Near a school. After a year. Fuck them. They will be in their own special hell next to Sheila's acursed ones. However. YOU are a master of love, though, and a master of words as well--i cannot imagine a better description for your feelings than "deflating." The sheer physicality of it related to your spirit is so powerful.
Oh horrors! Make that "its" and not "it's."
I am sorry I forgot to comment on this when i read it last night. I t is SO absolutely true.. the difference between the HALVES and the HALF NOTS is unbelievable. I really love what you did for the homeless people, a terrific idea that we "regular" people can easily implement.
Thanks, Bern. I gave my first bag today! The man said, "God bless you, baby." I said, "You too" and turned at the light. I felt as big as the moon.
My friend you are an amazing human being!! I am so proud of you and what you do.
Thanks, unscripted. I feel the same way about you and the tremendous amount of time you donate to so many great causes.
Man I can't tell you how stressful it is to be a star!! Swoon!! ~faints~ :D


But much points to you for making the gift bags for the homeless!! ~nodding~
This is a lovely idea. Thanks for sharing it.
♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚ For doing the right thing at least by me.
Thanks, Tink! and thanks for the warning (?) about ND.
librarienne, you're welcome! and thank you for the thanks!
algis, algis, I don't know what to say. This comment is spectacular. I just love that you spent the time to create your lovely message. It means so much to me.
The bags are a great idea.
Oh. I'm not here yet. I'm still gone.
That sounds pretty similar to the other get rich quick television shows that make a great effort to help one family, when there are too many to mention that are not sitting too pretty. Why can't things be even... even when it may not be great, but helpful at the least.
This is a great idea. Our culture is so immoral. At least before wealthy people (especially women) made it a point to do good for the less fortunate - corporations, too. All that is gone, baby, gone.
I know I am late to the party, but I would like to show my gratitude and support. You are indeed good and a fine soul. R
I remember reading this days ago and having a comment, but something came up and I had to leave. Basically I wanted to thank you for your kind act and thoughtfulness and also for this post. I hope there will be more like you.
They don't advertise homeless because they are the ones who make them homeless and so on and so on. Many have ideas on how to help the homeless but they should be looking as to why these people ARE FUCKING homeless and and why more money is spent on Presidential Campaigns to elect another politician whose only thought after winning election is making sure he gets re-elected for the next 4 years. Apologize for the profanity maam'. People are giving more and that is the shame about it, that even though they themselves are hurting they have to do what the government has failed to do for too long a time. Very nice post GD and as always my Best to You and your Family.............o/e r""""
Thank you, kosh; it's nice to see you.
MOMS, you are right. Seems like it's all or nothing. Usually nothing.
Wren dancer, tell it! Thanks for stopping by.
Thoth, you are very kind. Thanks for the strokes.
FusunA, if I knew how to make a heart, I'd send you one. Thanks for your continued support.
o/e--great to see you. Yes--big fuckers fucking the little fucks who can't get fucking ahead. And no apologies necessary. In almost every case, I like profanity, but not as much as I like you. Best to you as well, my man.
Thank you for being sensitive to those in need and for writing about it so well. I appreciate the good idea.