Begging Door-To-Door

Last Sunday Kish and I were getting ready to take the dogs for a walk when there was a knock at the door.  We opened our front door to find a teenage girl and her mother, both unknown to us, on the doorstep.

The girl explained that they were members of a nearby church.  She said she was collecting money so she could go to a church camp this summer, which was her “dream.”  She said she would be participating in a 5K walk, held up a generic sign-in sheet, and asked if we would sponsor her.  We gave her $5.  All the time, her mother stood there, beaming.

This incident left a sour taste in my mouth.  The girl and her mother didn’t look impoverished; they appeared to be average, well-fed, middle-class Americans.  They weren’t trying to raise money for a charity or a school or group activity.  Instead, they were just going door-to-door, asking complete strangers for a hand-out so the girl could go to camp in a few months.

This used to be called “begging.”  The 5K and the sign-up sheet were just a fig leaf for a naked appeal for cash.

Perhaps I’m just not a very charitable person.  Perhaps I should focus on the fact that we and our neighbors gave hard-earned money to these strangers to help them out.  Perhaps the girl will now go through life believing that Americans are decent, generous people who lend a hand when you are in need.

However, I wonder, instead, whether we have really come to the point where parents not only allow their kids to solicit donations for personal items door-to-door, but also participate in the process?  Could this girl not get a job to pay for her dream, or hold a garage sale, or save for a few months to cover the cost of the camp?  Couldn’t the family make a few sacrifices to pay her way?

This young girl probably collected more money from our neighborhood than she would from 10 hours of work at a minimum wage job.  What kind of message is she getting?

5 thoughts on “Begging Door-To-Door

    • The thing that irks me most about the door to door soliciting is you are trapped in your what is supposed to be your sanctuary.

      Incidentally, many camps have scholarship programs. It seems that a non-profit church would offer a variety of charitable options for campers.


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