Donating unsuitable items a sign of disrespect

I was riled up after reading about the unsuitable items that people donated (“Trashy donations hamper charities’ work“; Jan 22).

Food Bank Singapore and the Salvation Army rely on donations in kind from the public to aid them in their work.

They help us to help others by distributing donated goods to those who have need of them.

But it seems that some donors are treating them as rubbish collectors.

What does this say about the mentality of these donors?

First, there is a clear misunderstanding of what it means to be charitable. The word “charity” has its root in the notion of love. We do not treat those we love with disrespect. To give them rubbish is the ultimate insult.

Second, there is a lack of common decency. One of the key virtues in life is to treat others as we would like to be treated. Surely, we would not like it if we were in a dire situation and we were given rubbish.

Donors should reflect on what they give to charities.

Charities have to sort through and dispose of unsuitable donated items. This robs them of precious time that could have been invested in helping their beneficiaries.

It is heartening that some organisations are doing good in Singapore. If we can help them, we should do so. If we cannot, we should not make things more difficult for them.

William Wan (Dr)
General Secretary, Singapore Kindness Movement

Originally published on The Straits Times on January 30, 2017

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