Fascinating – Save the Children Catalog

The other day, I received a catalog in snail mail – glossy paper, colorful photos and all. Doesn’t sound extraordinary, I know. I’ve been a long-time catalog shopper and I still appreciate being able to quickly flip through a number of purchase options before making my selections. For the most part, I have migrated to online shopping but I have to admit that occasionally, I prefer being able to curl up on my sofa, away from my computer and browse.

Then I received a Save the Children catalog. This is the first time I’d ever seen it. Though it does exist online, I would have never thought to look for one. I was fascinated. With a brief glance through the first few pages, I assumed it was as other fundraising sorts of catalogs I’d seen before – purchase an item and some percentage of the sales go to the charity. I particularly liked the stuffed sheep animal (Songwriter would love it!) and started looking for a horse (Storyteller’s current obsession). I turned the page.

Mosquito nets. Oh. Could this be a garden catalog of some sort? Home improvement stuff or a mish mash of various house and kids items like in the Lillian Vernon catalog (a personal fave) or something? Then another entry read De-worming and micronutrients to protect 30 children…  I read on. Stock a medical clinic…in Armenia…. Wow. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Educate a young girland keep her learning for one full year. $65. I read on. Your gift of $65 – less than 20 cents per day – will provide vitals such as books, education materials and teacher training to help a girl attend – and stay – in school for an entire year.  Statistics show that girls…. You know what? This is the amount we’re asked to pay to the Home and School Club at our girls’ elementary school – for enrichment programs. Not essentials, extras like improvements to the school like new play structures (sooner than later), computer equipment, art and music programs. (Don’t get me wrong, I personally believe that art and music should be essentials in the public school programs here in California.) But in other parts of this world, $65 gives a little girl basic education for a full year. Kinda puts things in perspective, eh?

Send an orphan to school…$30. Emergency Shelter Kits…$25. Emergency Baby Care Kits…$40. And lest you believe that all of the items here are for third world countries, there’s Break the cycle of poverty for impoverished children in the U.S….$100. Of course, the scam alert starts to buzz. How could I make sure that if I “bought” one of these items, it would actually happen?

I guess I’m not the only skeptic in this world because there’s a host of information on the web site, a guarantee that items purchased are the items donated, statistics that show 90% of expenditures went to programs (not overhead) and FAQ. It all seems legitimate and on the up-n-up. And I have to say that I applaud someone out there for thinking of this – a modern yet easily accessible way to help out with donations and to know how those donations are used where needed. I admit I’m skeptical. How can they afford to create this color catalog, distribute it and still support all those programs? But the giving side of me (perhaps naive) wants to believe that this is a real way for me to make a difference in someone’s life, easily and quickly. It won’t require much of my time and I can envision how my donation will be used. I’m going to get past my skepticism this time and hope this is what it says it is and that my small contribution will count for something.

An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

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