How much does CHARITY cost?

In News on December 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Photo Flipbook Slideshow Maker

So (Saturday morning) I wake up to my Mom raving about a Kids for Coats Charity that’s going down in Fort Worth, TX at Charity Church, 4400 Panola Avenue. The flyer says Bishop F.R. Mays was hosting it and claims there are “18 wheelers full of coats, hats, gloves, shoes, toys, and bikes”. The flyer also stated that the charitable donations would begin disbursement at 9 am. and at least one family spent the night in the churches parking lot inside of their car in an effort to be early in line. I arrived at 9 a.m. armed with my wonderful iPhone camera in hand to interview lined up recipients and to document what appeared on the surface to be a well-organized charitable situation in progress.

At 9 a.m. there were already at least 200 +/- people in line (later on the lined swelled to about 400). The line didn’t move until Deion Sanders arrived to do a photo-op with all of the freezing patrons that had been standing in the charity line since day light broke. He had his own digital camera guy. They shot him shaking hands with folk at the beginning of the line, overlooking the scores of other families who shameless came out to receive a little assistance. The lady standing next to me wanted to get a picture of him, so I sent my kid with my i-phone to snap a shot. She returned less than enthused and said he really didn’t seem to be that excited about people wanting to photograph him. I said, “Fine” and I put the the camera away. I left the event at about 11 a.m. just when the disbursing had alas began.

One of the Gordon Sports student athletes accompanying me spotted Deion Sanders as we exited the affair and asked me if I’d snap a picture of him with Deion so he could ‘brag about it to his friends later on in the day’. I said “sure” and got within ear distance of Deon who was now standing across the street from the event surrounded by church security in bright yellow sweat shirts with red christmas hats on. I held my i-phone up and said, “Excuse me Mr. Sanders, do you mind if I get a picture of you and this young man who…” before I could finish Deion cut me off and said “No ma’am. I’m not taking any more pictures at this time. I’ve already done that”, in a very commanding tone. I responded, “I understand sir. Thank you so much”, he then turned and saw my i-phone (likely – he became aware that I could be taping the whole thing and he said), “Ma’am, I’ve been here all day taking pictures with the kids here at the charity and right now, I’m just taking a break chilling with my fam.”

What a crock of doo hickey. I had been socializing throughout the line and filming the scene for at least an 1:15 minutes before he arrived.

His behavior was unattractive not to mention how the AP Academic Honor Student was taken by Deions rude response and the lie that followed.

One of the women that I spoke with in line [G.A.] had been there since 8:30 a.m. with her 3 children, (12-year-old girl, 8 & 4 year old boys) told me that she didn’t even know what the charity was about, she just knows that she needed help and left the house before feeding the kids to get a good spot in line. I left the charity lines at 11am but when I called her at 2 p.m. to see how she fared in the charity receiving, she politely started out with, “I’m sure who ever put this charity on had the best intention at heart in doing so, but my children and I waited 8 hours in line and they gave my 12-year-old daughter a ball and a hat; they gave my two boys toddler bikes. My 8 year old was much too tall to ride his bike – I mentioned it to the charity helper, but the lady insisted we take it any way. I asked for a coat for my 12-year old daughter who didn’t have one and they looked at her jacket and said, “That jacket is fine”. I then told them that’s my old jacket – she doesn’t have one. She’s wearing this one because it was cold when we arrived this morning. That’s when they gave my daughter a hat. A hat.? I asked for a pair of shoes for my son and the charity helper assisting us looked at his shoes and said “He doesn’t need new shoes, unless there are holes in the ones he’s wearing.” – I said, ‘Son raise up your feet’. The lady saw the holes and granted him a new pair of shoes. I didn’t know they would be assisting our needs based upon how we were dressed”. G.A. concluded , “We need help, but we should always strive to be presentable too”.

She was clearly taken aback at the level of degradation and begging she had to do to get a few necessities for her children that she couldn’t afford. She really didn’t come for the bikes, G.A. said her kids needed clothes, coats, and shoes. She thanked God and was grateful for what she did receive and said she’s so glad The Salvation Army and Good Fella’s charity organizations don’t discriminate based on appearances. Anyone whose ever received any kind of assistance is less likely to give a charity worker grief for “proving their financial status”, by providing a current residential bill, or pay stub etc., if asked. But when you advertise to a suffering economy that you have coats, hats, gloves, and shoes for children who need, it’s not right to judge them on their external appearances.

Now I know why we’ve always seen less fortunate (black) people looking hideous and destitute in welfare assistance lines…they fear if they clean up to receive their blessing it may be withdrawn or down graded. So we have media footage of black women receiving assistance with their teeth out and their children’s hair uncombed. I didn’t know they were just “playing their part” – working the system the way it prefers to be worked, (in full humiliation). Now I know.

Please remind me — if I’m financially down
to dress like a fool; a spectacle clown

if I expect to receive any kind of necessary help
from a charity funded by ‘show boating wealth’.

I understand that this particular charity dotes the fact that they utilized private funds
but prejudging folks by their struggling yet presentable presence – hardly meets the sum.

Any help yielded to the community deems a notable mention indeed,
I’m Qui
and I appreciate Charity Church for their efforts to “burden ease”.
May God bless them all – indeed.

  1. First off I want to thank those who did come out, we do realize that it takes a toll on a family to come out and stand in that line, especially with small children. I also pray that whatever situation led you to the line last year has improved and that you are able to actually provide those things for your family as well as others that may be having a tough time this year. If anyone is offended with anything that happened, please accept my deepest apologies. This is our 21st year doing this and I can assure you that each year we put on this event it is our prayer to improve the quality. I should give you a little background on this event in hopes that it adds context to what you went through.
    The event initially started 21 years ago when our Bishop noticed that there were children on a bus stop shivering because they didn’t have a coat. He vowed to help with this situation and began giving away coats and such from his trunk in the projects in Fort Worth. Over the past 21 years we have grown, but we have also had to deal with many escalating issues. Unfortunately the event is not sponsored, so we don’t have companies such as Sam’s or Walmart giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the event. Instead, many of the members of the church even forgo having Christmas themselves to buy as much as possible for the kids that are standing in the line. Trust me when I tell you we all pray to get enough stuff so that every kid in that line can get everything, unfortunately we don’t have the resources to make that happen yet. As you can imagine over the years how many things we have had to deal with in the form of people attempting to Scam and “get over” You may notice that we print Jesus on everything, that is in part so that parents who were addicted would stop taking the baby’s merchandise back to the store to get money to do horrible things with.
    I will be the first to say that the event is not perfect and we can always make improvements. I would like for you to keep one thing in mind: The majority of the people you see the day of haven’t had sleep in about 2 days and spend the next 16 hours in the cold on their feet dealing mostly with individuals talking really bad to them. We serve roughly 2,000 people each year and on a yearly basis we may hear about 3 thank you statements, but we are called everything in the book, even online, which is how I found this post. 
    Unfortunately we do have to put some types of limits on things because of the many types of scams we have received in the past. I understand that there is a possibility that there are some legitimate claims/situations that may suffer as a result. However if we had enough items to give to everyone in the entire line, we would not have to make these types of choices, trust me it is much harder for us to make the decision than most realize: most people only hear it once, we have to make that call a couple thousand times and then when we run out, well we have to deal with that too.
    I thank you for your comments as they will serve as input into the training we are doing now. If you do know someone that would like to be a blessing this year and ensure that we can be a blessing to more kids, we are currently collecting coats, hats, gloves, toys, bikes, shoes, gloves and balls. All of these items must be new as we do not give away anything we would not buy for our own children. We have a couple thousand coats already, but most are large, we need many more smaller coats, and big bikes just bring them to Charity Church on Sunday morning 11:30AM on any Sunday.

  2. I too went to CHARITY CHURCH on Saturday [Dec. 18th] I arrived @ 10:15 and took my place at the end of a line that looked to be about 400-500 people strong. I had 3 kids with me, including my 5-year old grandchild whose mother is recently out of the ARMY and currently seeking employment. Everyday is a struggle so I stood in line from 10:15am – 6:00pm.

    Before you reach the front of the line the charity worker approached us and put wrist bands on the children. The bands determined WHAT KIND of Charity they would receive. The charity worker looked at me and said, my 5 year old grandaughters’s wrist band would ensure her “A BIKE”. And that was great news because she really wanted a bike after seeing hundreds of shiny new bikes blocking the streets since we arrived.

    Once we reached the first line, we went into the tents to redeem our bracelet values. The parents could not go INSIDE of the tent where the msde. was. The charity worker took them in and the kids returned alone. My 3 kids came out with 2 balls and a hat.

    My 5 year old grandaughter then ran over to one of the bikes to receive what was promised and the security/charity worker told her “NO!” When I told him she had a band that stipulates she could, he yelled across the street to the lady who was tagging wrists in line and said, “Eh! I said NO MORE BIKES!” Then he looked at us and said, “We aren’t giving away anymore bikes tonight. We have to save the rest of them for tomorrow.

    It was a 2-day charity… Okay? So then… were all of those bikes in the street that day just FOR SHOW? A photo-op at our needy expense?

    I stood in line for 8 hours and received 2 balls and a hat and a little harassment.

    I saw Deon Sanders and his wife too. They were shaking peoples hands on our row of the line. When he shook our hand, my daughter said, “Deon can I get a picture with you?” He said to her, “I’ll be right back.” Of course he never came back. But he certainly looked good for the hired camera man that was following him. I hope it makes for good footage on a very worthy project, because my feet are still swollen from 7 days ago.

    God Bless and WHAT A MESS.

  3. I have a good mind to write KHVN a letter and tell them about my experience as well, because they were advertising it on the radio.

    I actually arrived at the charity drive at about 10:30 a.m. with my 4-year old grand niece and my 13-year old grand daughter with me. I lost my HR Executive Management positioon several years ago due to DOWN SIZING and am grateful for my recent employment that pays $10 an hour (70% LESS than what I was accustomed to earning). I don’t complain, but it is obvious I need help – so I showed up for assistance.

    Once we reached the head of the line it was about 4 p.m. – a charity helper had already put wrist bands on only 1 of the 2 children I had. The wrist bands determined WHAT each child was eligible for receiving. My 13 year old grand daughter is an asthmatic and IN DIRE NEED OF A COAT – (after she overheard the charity givers were JUDGING KIDS by what they had on – she removed her sweater and stuffed it in her back pack). I thought it was unnecessary to go that far, but her doing so made her “eye eligible” to the charity worker & THEY GAVE HER A COAT.

    My 4 year old grand nieces parents are both incarcerated and I’ve been raising her every since the day of her birth, shortly after her mother birthed her (in jail). I told the charity worker assisting me that SHE NEEDED CLOTHES & SHOES. They looked at her and said every child get’s something. The 4 year old immediately ran to one of the hundreds of bikes that were lined up for donation. That’s when a charity worker informed me that the 4 year old could not have a bike – just a toy.

    I found that to be very interesting since the attachment to the charity flyer read:

    To qualify for assistance is simple. The child or children must be present to receive the coats, hats, gloves, shoes, toys and bikes. That’s it. There are no low-income standards that must be met in order to receive service. This allows families that would otherwise be denied service from other agencies the opportunity to get the extra help they need for the holiday season.

    The child was present. She was in need. She was inelligeble.
    Unfortunately I had to speak up and ask them WHY the 4 year old didn’t qualify – we certainly met the standards required. After I asked several charity workers the same question – one of them said, “Ma’am, I’m so glad you spoke up. I don’t know HOW THEY ARE DETERMINING what you need by looking at you”. And then a bike was given to my grand niece.

    My gratitude was melancholy. I really hate I had to go to that level of conversation to get a bike for a child who (honestly) was receiving nothing this year. Regardless of the poor judgment exhibited under the tents at this charitable affair, I too THANK GOD that we received anything at all.

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