An elderly lady died here in the UK a couple of weeks ago. She took her own life - she had health problems and her family said that the reason given in the newspapers was not nearly the only reason. But the fact remains that for years she had been hounded by charities to give money. Every day requests for more money had come through the post although she already contributed to such a lot by direct debits.
I think most of us here are hounded by charities. I know they need the money. I give to one or two chosen ones (RSPB and Great Ormond Street Hospital and Save the Children), but I draw the line there, just adding one special one at Christmas depending upon what has happened during the year (last year a friend died of cancer during the year and so it was Cancer Research).
But I also know - and again this is only my experience - that if I give to a charity they have been known to ring and ask me if I will increase my monthly subscription.
All charities need money constantly and I realise that often the only way they can get it is to ask for it. There are some (Lifeboats for example) which I feel should be totally funded by the Government, but money is spread thinly and it is often sorely needed.
But some of the 'big' charities do seem to pay their executives an awful lot of salary and do seem to use very swish, very new vehicles to run about in in places like Africa.
Over the years I have found that it is better to give a lot to one or two charities rather than to spread the money I can afford thinly. The same applies to begging in the street, which thankfully we don't have up here in the Dales at all. If I had a pound coin to spare I would put it all in one 'cap' rather than twenty pence in five 'caps' if you get my meaning.
There is also the problem of unscrupulous people. I do a lot of puzzles in the Times - many of which need a pencil with a rubber on the end. The rubber wears out quickly but the pencil is still good. I look at the twenty or so perfectly good pencils in my 'tub' and wish I could transport them to Africa to some school where pencils are in short supply. But you so often read where shipments of goods for schools and such like are intercepted at ports of entry and the stuff is taken off and sold elsewhere.
Yes, charity of any kind is a problem. Do we give to salve our conscience or do we give out of a geuine need to be helpful? However poor we are here in the UK there is always someone poorer than ourselves who needs our support.