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I’ve been remiss in posting, but this is because my offline philosophical wanderings have been mostly with members of my Lodge. We’re stepping up fundraising activities and yes, I realize it’s the dark time of the year, but it’s also that nice portion of summer where the nights are cool and people are out and something as mundane as selling a hotdog at a car-show raises a good chunk of change. Merely because the Craft is in the dark time of the year doesn’t mean rest on our collective laurels – it means go do work. There are no breaks.

But here’s the rub: It’s actually really hard to get donations. In fact not only is it really hard, but this isn’t even supposed to be hard. I’m asking for donations from supermarkets to sell hotdogs at the local towns community car show to raise money for kids with cancer. You would think people would literally be handing me $10 to fund the thing.

Instead – and I won’t name corporations on the blog – the solicitation has to include no less than:

  1. Letter head. If it’s not on letterhead, they don’t want to see it.
  2. Addressed to the store. I can’t just print a form letter, it has to be addressed.
  3. I have to have a Tax ID number.
  4. I have to put my actual name on the form.
  5. I have to specifically enumerate what the donation will be used for. “Masonic charities” isn’t sufficient, nor are the local charities and homeless shelters we support. I have to write down that I’m going to use the gift card ($25 is standard) to buy rolls (100ct) to make sandwiches to sell to buy more food to feed the homeless and give free healthcare to children.

OK this is all hokey legal crap – why rant about it here?

Charity is charity. I’ve never responded to an email saying “You didn’t put my name in the right place or address me as Fr Phergoph”. If I did that, I’d come off as a complete tool. I even am OK when people use my real name in private correspondence. If I don’t feel comfortable discussing something (“love spells” in particular violate someone else’s Will) I will explain why and that’s usually the end of it. I’ve never been haughty to the effect of “you didn’t address me properly” or “you didn’t throw grips and signs” and then tell someone to piss off.

I am literally being told by a corporation that – because I didn’t put the TIN in the right place or put down the store number in the address – I can’t have food. Not free money, not an ipad, not a TV or a new set of shoes, it’s food. It’s not even food for me. I make a really good sandwich, you want my food. My food is frequently stolen from the office fridge, that’s how good it is.

Lets roll this back one order further – lets assume I didn’t have a decent job and a wife who worked. Lets assume I’m a guy off the street and I’m not well off and not wearing a suit with a well groomed beard and a masonic jewel – lets assume I don’t have that tax ID number because I’m more concerned with feeding my kids than I am filing proper paperwork with Uncle Sam.

The supermarket is going to tell me to piss off.

We now live in an age where people cannot honestly beg for food in (supposedly) the leader of the free world. Sure I could make an effort to hang out at homeless shelters and buy random people sandwiches (we actually do make food for the homeless in my Lodge) but holy crap you would think supermarkets would be absolutely begging to get the writeoffs. Nope.

Tomorrow I’m going to scrap the draft talking about masonic charities and re-write it to be a sandwich recipe because apparently everyone has to line-item helping the unfortunate in today’s America.

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