To give or not to give?

Published 10:21 am Thursday, January 4, 2018

By Will Collins

We just wrapped up a holiday season that is surrounded by love and giving. We share in wonderful meals and many gifts, we open up and give more to others in need by contributing to various charities. It really does feel good to give.

Of course, there are times we don’t feel so good about giving, especially when we don’t truly know what we are giving for and where the contributions, large or small, are actually going.

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I read a story on Facebook yesterday that reminded me of something I witnessed once.

I was out of town and staying at a hotel. As I was walking in, a young girl pulled up to the front and asked if I had some extra cash because she was about to run out of gas and needed to get home. I told her that I didn’t carry cash (which was the truth) so she proceeded to ask another gentleman by the front door.

He gave her $20, she thanked him, then pulled a cross the parking lot where two guys jumped in the car with her just before she sped off. The man was so embarrassed, all he could do was look at me and say, “Oh, well.”

Just a few days ago, my daughter and I stopped at a restaurant in Lexington where a guy came up to me asking for money. The first things out of his mouth were some racial slurs regarding some men that refused to give him any money. Because of this, I was more than happy to join in with those men by telling him, “No.”

Lastly, the story I read on Facebook that several of you will be familiar with was a similar scenario but it was children that were asking for money in this cold weather. Once they had finished asking for help, they got in the car with whom was presumably their parent and were soon on their way. While all of the above situations disturb me, I am overly saddened by the fact that someone would use their small children for this, especially in the cold elements we are experiencing.

The question often arises concerning the true nature of the use of these funds.

Are we enabling them to continue bad habits? Are these and other children being cared for properly?

With all of the stories and tragedies happening these day’s, it is a cause for concern.

The same can be said about the TV commercials we see every day asking us to support various organizations. I’m sure a lot of these monies are used properly and for the good of the people these groups support, but we also read about how they spend millions and millions on luxury items for their group or employees.

I love the act of giving and assisting those in need, but truly want what I contribute to be used properly for the better good. That’s why I prefer to give directly and suggest you do so as well.

Take donations to our local homeless shelter, buy food and materials needed by the pet shelters, find ways to donate to the V.A. and many other institutions.

My daughter and I have a system that works well and we try very hard not to let it go by. Every time we are asked for money or see someone at an intersection peddling, we donate a certain amount to a local organization. The easiest method we have found is putting money into the Ronald McDonald House and hope it does good. There are obviously many others.

As Roy T. Bennett said, “Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make, makes you. Choose Wisely.”

Happy New Year, Winchester and Clark County.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at