When it comes to giving money to charity, I'm not sure I do enough.
I'm as guilty as the next person of dodging charity muggers 'chuggers' in the street – always being careful to be polite but at the same time being firm that, no, I don't want to give my bank details to a stranger on the street who's stalked me halfway to Boots in my lunch hour, when all I want is a sandwich and a packet of crisps.
It's these uncharitable feelings that have been sitting heavily on my mind these past few months and I've been trying to work out if I can find a middle ground – a happy medium where I can hold my head up and say to chuggers, 'No thanks, I already give money to my chosen charities.'
But then of course, there's the dilemma of who to support. When there are world disasters – the flooding in Pakistan, tsunamis, earthquakes etc, I will always give money through Oxfam or Unicef, but apart from that, I don't make a regular donation to anyone.
The other day, I got caught my a chugger who convinced me to part with £5 to fund 15 minutes of care with Marie Curie – I did not mind doing this, either. What I did mind though, was being hounded with phone calls for the next week from the charity wanting more money.
That pissed me off.
Anyway, today, in my hungover, post-Christmas party state, I've been sitting at my desk – working – and also wondering who I'd like to support in the new year. Which charity I'd like to donate to regularly, and make a difference to.
And suddenly it hit me, and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before: Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
You see, one day, I would like a Hearing Dog. I would like to have that security of knowing that a bundle of fur would alert me if something out of my range was occurring, be it a child crying, an alarm going off, or my neighbour having a shrieking fit about my very existence.
But how can I possibly expect to ask for a Hearing Dog, if I don't support the charity that's responsible for training and caring for these life-changing animals? Quite frankly, I can't.
As a kid, I did loads of fundraising for Hearing Dogs. I went carol singing, I did sponsored silences, which those who know me vouch for is a very tricky thing indeed, and I once even did a sponsored famine.
But then I stopped and now it's time to start again.
So today, I started by sponsoring a puppy – a brown cocker spaniel called Coco, who looks so cute, it left me wishing I could be her owner…
But that puppy called Coco will go to someone who really needs her right now. She'll change their life, she'll be their ears, and what could be better than that?
And as I sit here, in my post-Christmas party hungover state, I can't think of a single thing.
Good for you
Seeing adverts for chuggers in The Stage every week and knowing they are getting paid to guilt trip you makes me cross. I'll decide which charities I support and when thank you. I will be having a look at the Hearing Dog scheme though : )
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