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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Doling out leftovers and old clothes - what's wrong with it?

    The topic for this thread is a point raised by Juana in this thread. I am initiating this thread as I found the point very interesting to discuss as a separate thread rather than taking that thread off-track. I think in some contexts it is OK to give away things.

    Suppose I have been give a box of mithai and I find the quantity far too much for my family. So, instead of letting it spoil away and getting wasted by eventually being consumed to the dustbin, I keep only one or two pieces and think it is a nice gesture to hand over the remaining mithai to my maid. It is not like I am taking a bite of a ladoo, for example, and giving the half-eaten one to my maid. That would be a left over and I would never do that.

    Similarly with old clothes. Just a couple of days ago, we got together some clothes that were still in wearable condition to donate to a charitable organization which I had been informed about was collecting them. Here again, I think it is a good gesture as the clothes are not torn or faded out and, instead of them just lying on cupboard shelves or being thrown away eventually due to being worn out completely, it would be better to give them to the charity.

    So when do you think doling out can be considered to be good/bad?
  • #612439
    We also do the same way. For Vijayadasami and Deepavali I get many sweet packets. I distribute the boxes in the office it self to the other employees. 3 or 4 will come home. I give one packet to my driver and another packet to servant maid. Generally we keep maximum one box. In normal days in our house we eat very less sweets. So by any chance sweet are there, major portion will go to servant maid. There's is nothing wrong in that. From a packet three or four sweets were taken out and remaining will be handed over to her. Similarly, the clothes which are useful to wear but lying in the cupboard can be given. My servant maid's husband will take those dresses from our house. If many or there, once in a month a person from near by orphan home will come and collect. These are all good gestures.
    always confident

  • #612440
    Unfortunately the other thread was taken to a totally different direction.

    So far as the present thread is concerned, even the Government asks us to donate the unused medicine. There are many NGOs which seek old clothes. In Delhi, there is an NGO ('Pahal') which collects old clothes. My wife regularly gives old clothes to that NGO (Regularly means at least twice in a year). Just now (say around 20 minutes ago) I gave an old packet of Horlicks and another packet of Dalda (unused) to a person who cleans the locality. Many people like me in my locality give away old clothes, food-items and medicine nowadays.

    But these are not given as Diwali gifts as mentioned in one of the responses to the other thread.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #612446
    Anything will have at least two opinions(and even more). That is evident from a saying in Malayalam."Ammaye thaliyaalum randu abhipraayam".Even if one beats his own mother there will be two opinions-one supporting him,and another opposing him.

    This discussion topic also will be like that. Otherwise there is no meaning of discussion-it will be just agreeing by an 'yes'.

    It is how we take it all. The traditional wisdom says that even for donation, one should choose the deserving done(receiver) .
    In early days there was no ego of sharing or even donation either to the giver or receiver. It was a pure sharing of things one has in excess and giving it to one who does not have it, but needs it.
    We should see it as a pristine way to avoid colossal waste, by recycle or reuse. It is that concept we now miss and try to interpret by casting aspersions even on well intentioned donation and sharing.

    During my childhood, it was quite natural and usual thing that once the academic results come,we used to give our used text books to our younger siblings or cousins or neighbours who will be now coming to the class we just passed from. It was very rarely that we used to buy new texts. The syllabus also remained same for many years. Only when the syllabus changed we bought new books.

    Not only texts, we used to recycle or reuse dress, umbrella, schoolbags etc also. There was no feeling of ego or feeling belittled.

    Such good habits were also the inbuilt solutions for avoiding waste accumulation. Waste accumulation and disposal is now a great problem. Similarly there was a habit of sharing the sweets and special dishes made on a festival day to be shared and distributed to anyone who comes or we meet for the next few days. Some people may not like to come on the same day but will come next day to share the sweets and special items. No one feel it below dig also. If on one occasion we give the left over sweets to our maid, on another occasion she brings us some left over banana or vegetable she had cropped in her village home. All these were taken in good spirit of sharing.

    I remember well that during my childhood,the old lady who was a long time maid servant(actually she was another remember of family for us) used to bring some sweet items she made in her home- and which we usually we do not make in our home- next day when she comes to our home. We children used to relish that very much. Same was the case when she brought 'guava' fruits grown in her home.or the local fruit-vegetables someone gave her.

    No one felt anything different. Everyone was happy to give and take then-even if they were left overs. By left over it does not mean that the food left on plate after laying our hands. Such sharing was done only among parents&children, siblings.
    Left over just meant the excess that was consciously made in order to share with those who did not have that. Left overs were just right things only.

  • #612448
    In the contest of donation or even giving left over, I recall a Sanskrit verse on donation or Daanam.(Daan).

    Pibanti nadyaah swayam-eva na-ambhah
    Swayam na khaadanti phalaani vrikshaah
    Na-adanti sasyam khalu vaarivaahaah
    Paropakaaraaya sataam vibhootayah

    (The river does not drink itself all its water , the tree does not eat itself all the fruits it grows, the clouds do not dink the water it drops nor the plants it helps to grow, so too noble souls make everything available for other's use.)

    In the modern days also one state , or country shares only the excess or left over water, food grains or fruits or electricity or any other resources with other states or countries. Just because the receiver pays a price does not mean that what received is not left over. If we take it as sharing just as electricity only flows from a higher level to lower level, for smooth flow and share a slight difference will be there. But we should also see that the same can be reciprocal in another way.. Earlier the 'price' or 'compensation' or' reciprocity' was by physical help,or giving some other thing at some other time.

  • #612454

    Giving old clothes, toys and stuff that is lying unused at home is not charity. People may look at themselves as being charitable, but I view it differently. Old stuff is given away to remove clutter and make space in your homes. Even though the stuff is going for a good cause, it is not charity.

    I give away stuff, but I do not think of myself as charitable. I always ask the person if they want the stuff. And if there are clothes, I always let them pick what they want, letting them know they can have the whole lot, if they want.

    Real charity is when you make an effort to give from what you have and want, and not from giving away your discards.

    When is it bad to dole out used clothes and excess food?

    Giving is never a bad thing. But, I think festivals are not the time to give away things that you do not want. While it is fine to give the box of sweets that you have already dug into, it is not fine to give it as a Diwali gift.

    I have always put special effort in buying gifts for my house help since that is what my mother also did. In fact, they have always received their presents and box of goodies, before everyone else. Whenever we have shared Christmas cake with the staff in my complex, it is not done because I have excess. We have done it because we think we need to share it with them. I believe that people who do things for us deserve special appreciation, especially during a festival. Giving excess food after the festival is good, but it is not in keeping with the festive spirit. When we give away because we do not have any use for an item, it is not generosity - so let's not be fooled into believing that we are being generous.

    I do believe that wasting food is a sin. And I do give away what is in excess, but never as a gift. Again, handing over the balance 'mithai' after I have taken what I want, can hardly be counted as a good gesture, because it's giving away what I do not need. I'll give it away, but I don't think there is anything magnanimous about it.

    Real giving is in when you put an effort into the giving. When you give from whatever little you have and not from giving because you have no need for it.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #612455
    My philosophy on giving and being charitable comes from the following passage from The Holy Bible (Mark 12:41-44)

    The Widow's Offering

    Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

    Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #612457
    For me it's the idea that counts,people have plenty kept in cupboards and wardrobes, people waste persihable items and then discard it. I see giving such things as charity as long as it's given with dignity and food that's untouched from a common container and not from an individual plate.

    Clothes that still can be used, clean but not new can be given to the needy anytime be it a festival or cleaning out stuff or while moving.

    For me charity does not have a specific time or a specific form or a specifc nature. Whiel abroad we have given Christmas Charity shoeboxes, wherein a packet of sweets, used but neat clothes, a toy and almost new stationary items are given to the needy.

    What I don't approve is, in the name of charity handing out things in public making a big show of it. giving money or clothes to servants making them stand outside the house or near the backdoor. keeping things on the floor and asking them to pick it up. Whatever we give, it should be in a dignified manner that will make the person receiving it happy and doesn't make them feel they are begging for stuff.

  • #612551
    I don't think anybody labels themselves as charitable or being magnanimous per se. When we give to a charitable organization, it is called charity. When we give something, be it sweets or clothes, we are, in a manner of speaking, sharing, as pointed out in response #612446 and it is wrong to disparage and be dismissive of it. There is nothing wrong in this, even when the motive is to de-clutter. It is better to do so than throw it away - that would be a discard. Also, as Natarajan pointed out, it is the thought that counts. It may not be considered as kind-hearted by some people, but actually it is, yes, because one is being kind in sharing. When one is giving mithai that one does not eat during the festival, why is it not to be considered as a festive gift? At other times, too, it would be considered as a gift only. Even when you ask somebody if the stuff is needed and give them the option to select, then, too, it is akin to a gift because giving a gift does mean giving something willingly, something which we are doing out of genuine pleasure & joy, not as something enforced or an obligation.

    The Biblical reference was lovely, but not everyone would be able to practically follow it.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #612553
    Different people have different perspectives, based on what they have been taught to believe.

    When people talk about giving to charitable organisations, their clothes and stuff, which would otherwise rot in their cupboards, they are touting themselves as charitable. What other option do they have other than throwing the item away? When you give, because the only other option you have is to throw it away, it is not charity, not in my view.

    It would be charity if the options you had were keeping the item because you need it and giving it away for someone else to use. It is charity when you give what you want for yourself. That is true giving.

    I do not understand from where disparage and dismissive come into the picture. You asked for opinions and you got mine. I do not have to tailor my response to suit anyone's views. My view on charity is different from yours. I do not equate disposing of old stuff and removing clutter, with charity.

    I agree, you are kind, when you share. The keyword here is 'SHARE', you share what you have, not what you don't want. There is a big difference there. When you are ready to dispose off something, how can it be sharing, if you give it to someone? You had no need for it, in the first place. You are not sharing; you are just getting rid of it.

    Mithai and festive gift – When I give something as a gift on a festival, I do not pick from what I 'do not eat' and pass it on. I do give that away, but not as a festive gift. If I am picking out stuff that my family and I need and give away the rest, I am just giving it away because I don't want it, and that is not sharing. I would call it sharing if I receive a box of 'kaju-katli' and I think of sharing it with my maid, even though I want all of it.

    I just gave away my daughter's clothes, because she won't need them anymore. I didn't give them because doing so gave me any pleasure and joy. They were occupying space. I had kept them as long as I thought she'd need them. The young girl who picked up the clothes was happy and I was happy seeing her happy, but I wouldn't fool myself into believing that I was generous and charitable. In the back of my mind I know I had no use for those clothes. My actions stemmed from a selfish reason, to create space.

    Coming to the Biblical reference, my understanding of charity comes from it. I may not give all that I have (it's very difficult to practice the teachings of Christ), but I do not believe that I am giving when I give from what I do not need.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #612557
    What I feel that we can dole out what is not needed to us which may include anything from eatables to the clothes. Luckily in Hyderabad the Municipal corporation has set us a wall of kindness where in a rack has been kept so that donors can keep their things without the notice of others and like wise those who are in dire need of the things and clothes, can have it without knowing to others. I think that is the great gestures. Left overs and clothes are never solicited directly but can be given the above way the donor would be having a happy thinking and the donee would get what he wants.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #612570
    I read somewhere in Ernakulam,there is an outlet similar to big refrigerator kept in a public place roadside with a note for keeping excess food from house but in good condotion for the usage of needy poor people.
    Similarly in the Virugambakkam area of Chennai, there is place similar to bank atm where we can keep our unwanted but good conditioned cloths and the required ones can take.Here both required no identity.
    As my wife suddenly expired in her 55 years of age, I found her almirah filled with number of sarees, I asked all my close relatives to take them and I handed over nearly 35 sarees of good condition to the nearby old age home

  • #612571

  • #612573
    Glad to note that people have many different views of Charity. A noble gesture for keeping food in a clean place so that others can use, giving our clothes to needy people or old age homes etc.

    Any goodwill gesture follows the rule 'All faith lead to the same destination', whatever we may perceive charity as well are do the same things helping people at times of their need with or without their asking.

  • #612582
    The first 'Ayyamittu Unn' the community refrigerator, where edible items can be left, was set up recently, in Chennai's Besant Nagar area, by a Muslim lady, an orthodontist by profession, Dr Issa Fathima Jasmine. It is a great initiative where people donate food and those in need take what they want. It has been in the news for all the good reasons.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

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