BULL STREET - The art of the Con

Charities Were Not Always What They Are Cracked Up To Be

Since the word charity was coined, most of them were swindles created by their originators to benefit themselves. Even so-called legitimate charities have paid their officers substantive salaries, often more than the CEOs of major corporations, to for a large price, what many of us would do for nothing. The worker bees historically donate their time, money and possessions while the big shots that run the organizations drive around in fancy cars, live in expensive houses and travel to exotic places in the name of giving.

The situation became so bad that the United States Government required charitable organizations to file regularly with federal officials showing how much money actually went for good works and how much money went into the pockets of promoters. I remember the time when the east coast was struck by a vicious hurricane, one of the worst in history. It was called Hurricane Hazel and before it was over, it totally decimated the area near the North Carolina shore where I was stationed during that period. Things became so bad that our unit was ordered Myrtle Beach to help in a rescue, rebuilding and anti-crime work.

We were summarily loaded into trucks and road for hours without anything to eat or drink. Worst yet, because the storm had struck so suddenly, in many places we had to clear the roads to get egress into certain remote areas. When we arrived at our destination, our troops were overjoyed to see that a major charity had already arrived and was supplying coffee to everyone in the area. We jumped off the trucks and stood waiting our turn for something warm to take down after what had been a vicious ride. When my turn finally came, I realized that the charity was charging both victims and rescuers for the Java. I could not believe my eyes. While the price was no more than it would have been under normal circumstances, the fact that these folks were charging people that had been decimated by the storm, those who had lost their homes, their possessions and their loved ones.

From that time on, I became a believer in the old adage that “charity does indeed begin at home.” No more of this organized stuff for me. However, eventually, the government started cleaning up the mess, but not before many people had become rich at the expense of those that had little. I guess we all should have known better to begin within.



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