Giving back to the community?

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I was catching up on my blogs this morning and I came across this blog on how some helpless woman contracted Americorps to paint her house.  First, the whole concept of volunteers being paid is an oxymoron.    I can understand that they have supply expenses…well, anyway, I digress.

Reading The Hawk’s Blog this morning made me remember that I have been planning to write a blog on this whole “Giving Back to the Community” thing.  I guess it was a month ago and I was driving to work.  Boortz was on, and he was rambling on in his usual sensationalistic style about “Giving Back To the Community.”  I found myself agreeing with him. 

First of all, what is “giving back to the community”? Here’s the result of a quick Google search on that string:

To begin to examine ways to give back to your community, just look around you at the local needs. Are there a lot of homeless people? Is there a lot of trash around in your community? The last time you were in your library was it tidy, were the people overworked? These are all places that you can volunteer that offer ways to give back to your community.

Ok, let’s think about this.  Homeless people?  Yes, there are a lot of homeless people in Orlando.  And here’s a story to illustrate the point that they are homeless because they are not trying.  One day I was at a local Denny’s for breakfast.  As I walked in, a homeless guy was camping out near the door.  I felt sad for him…after I had my Grand Slam Breakfast, I decided to order one for him.  I got it “to go” and paid the bill.  As I went outside, I offered this man the Grand Slam Breakfast.  He took the bag and literally slung it into the street where it spilled out and ruined.  I asked him…WTF did he do that for…and he said “I don’t want your stinking food!”  He then proceeded to take out a flask of whiskey and give it a chug.  So no.  I am not going to “give back” to the community by feeding or clothing these deadbeats that won’t get off their asses and get a job!  Case in point, there is a homeless trio that has been panhandling the Colonial/Alafaya intersection since 1997.  Come on.  Are you telling me that they couldn’t find a job, any job, since 1997?

A lot of trash in the neighborhood?  Yes, there is a lot of trash.  But you expect me to pick up the trash of some lowlife who doesn’t have the manners and intelligence to throw their trash in the specified trash containers?  I was driving home one night and I was behind a Ford Focus on the way in to my neighborhood.  Since the neighborhood is gated, you have to stop and wait for the gate to open, provided you have access.  The woman in the Focus did stop…and put down her window.  She then proceeded to dump out about three meals worth of McDonald’s wrappers, cups and bags onto the street…then she zipped inside.  This dumb tart couldn’t wait to get home (3 houses down) to dump that trash in her trash can?  I did pick up this trash.  I got it…and took it to her door…and left it there.  Three days later…it was still on her doorstep.  So you want me to “give back to the community” by picking up this deadbeat’s trash?  No way! 

The library.  Is my local library tidy?  No!  Are they overworked in there?  Yes!  But get this.  A “librarian” in Orange County, FL makes $183,000.  She made news by refusing her $9000 raise.   Feel bad for her?  Think I should “give back to the community” by donating my time to the library?  Why?…doesn’t the current librarian seem sufficiently compensated?

 Like Boortz said, in order to give back, we would have to first take something from the community.  I haven’t taken anything from the community.  But I have given back.  How?  I pay my taxes, for one.  Yes, I pay federal taxes.  But I also pay local taxes.  I frequent local restaurants and stores.  I donate to my church.  I give back by being a consumer…not by needlessly volunteering my time to help pick up the slack for those who don’t do their share. 

Instead of “giving back”…we need to make people accountable for their actions.  If some tart litters, don’t put it on me to pick up her trash and label it “giving back.”  No.  Put the onus on her by sentencing her to jail time, fining her $1000, or sentence her to 1000 hours of “community service.”  Make her “give back.”  Instead of me tidying up the local library, make that woman who makes $183K do her job.  Make her work 120 hours per week cleaning up that library of hers.  Make hergive back.  The homeless guy.  Instead of me donating money to help him (20% of which will go to the actual cause), have him get a job.  Make him accountable.  If he isn’t trying to get a job or if he is belligerent or dangerous, oust him from our area. 

I am sick and tired of people telling me I have to “give back”…when it really comes down to people needing to be accountable for their actions.  If I walk my dog, I pick up its scat.  I do not expect some other citizen to “give back” by picking up my dog droppings.  If the old woman needs her house painted and she can’t do it…then she or a loved one close to her needs to shop around and get it done, not expect Americorps to roll in and “give back” by doing it for her.  (For a modest fee)

Instead of telling me to “give back”…how about me telling you to “be accountable”.

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One response »

  1. Bravo…I also have planned to do a community service blog….albeit to blow off some dumb ass steam. You hit several nails on the head here. My grandfather told me if someone asks you for $1 to buy a cup of coffee…politely refuse…but to take him inside and buy him his cup. Then it will not go to his “Profession” of panhandling or up his nose. 90% of these folks will refuse your kind offer…for that real person that is cold (in Northeast) and down on their luck you may be helping them. Look for my blog showcasing a discussion I had with my wife about Community service yesterday…it should be done this week.

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