Putting the “Fun” in Fundraiser

Just yesterday afternoon as I was rushing to get home to my temporary live-in-maid/chef with a bundle of asparagus and two sweet potatoes to go with the steaks she’d been marinating for me to cook for us for dinner (yes, even live-in chefs need a night off once in a while), I was stopped and asked on the sidewalk if I had a moment to help save a starving child.

“Sorry, buddy. I’m on my way home to save a starving roommate before she bites my head off in hunger-induced cannibalism.”

I’m not sure if the look he gave me was one of shock, disbelief, annoyance, or if he was shooting daggers with his eyes because I didn’t turn around to see his reaction. I was on a mission.

Call me heartless, but when you get asked every day by the representative of some charity or another on the streets of Chicago to spare a minute and make a donation or, better yet, a recurring donation…you just have to say enough is enough at some point. It annoys me the most when I have my headphones in or I’m on the phone and this happens. Clearly I don’t have a moment to save a ___________. Can’t you see I’m in a hurry/preoccupied/whatever?

But sometimes, once in a great while, my Grinch-esque heart thaws momentarily and I decide to help out a charity.

A couple years ago, I got stopped in Boystown (the official Gayborhood of Chicago, if you’ve been living under a rock) by the HRC asking for a donation. Now here is a charity I can get behind. You’re actively fighting for my rights of equality? Sold. Consider my money donated.

Starving children in Africa though? Sorry, but my roommate is waiting for me to get home with our fresh asparagus and sweet potatoes to go with the delicious medium-rare steak I’m about to make. #FirstWorldProblems

So this week, I caught wind of a fundraising event at the State Street Macy’s downtown to benefit the Chicago House charity. For those of you unaware of this awesome social service group, let me educate you on who they are and what they do (or rather: let me copy and paste their mission statement from their website):

Chicago House and Social Service Agency serves individuals and families by providing housing, employment services, medical linkages, HIV prevention services, and other supportive services to those who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity. All Chicago House services are provided without discrimination and are explicitly designed to guide people towards wholeness and self-sufficiency.

Pretty awesome, right? So for a suggested $25 donation (totally do-able) you scored access to the event sponsored by Macy’s and OUT Magazine complete with complimentary drinks from minibar.

Charity. Cocktails. Shopping. Sold.

Spend $100, get 25% off.
Spend $250, get 25% off PLUS an awesome swag bag packed full of stuff.

Let’s take a guess what level I went for.

Needless to say, I walked out with a new pair of Hudson jeans, a French Connection jacket, and a sweater (that will be going back tomorrow since the shoulders in the size Small are wide enough to house a football player).

Not to mention the loaded swag bag…worth close to what I spent.

  • A bottle of Guess cologne – and not a sample size either
  • A French Connection t-shirt…in my size, not some XXL leftover
  • Two bottles of Lacoste shower gel – perfect for my Mexico trip!
  • A $25 gift card to the 5th floor salon
  • And……drumroll please…..a candle. Random, but at least it smells good.
Donating to charity never felt/smelled/looked/tasted so good.
So perhaps when Sarah McLachlan or the starving children offer me something for donating my time and money (at least the HRC gives you a sticker!) then I’ll pop out an earbud or ask my mother to hold for a moment. Until then however, charities that put the “fun” in “fundraiser” will get my contribution every time.
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