Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playing Santa

Like just about everyone out there, I'm spending a bit less on Christmas. Well, sort of...I blew $570 back in August on a ticket to Aspen because if I didn't, I'd be spending the holiday alone in my apartment with my Christmas tree and the televised yule log. All because Mom scored a free ticket after being voluntarily bumped from a flight in July and immediately booked a peak season ticket before United hit their limit of freebies for that week. I'm shocked I got away with just $570 for a ticket that normally goes for twice that. I'm only going for 5 days though, because I suffer terribly from altitude sickness that doesn't go away after 48 hours the way it does for most people.

I normally spend $400-500 on my family, but this year I'm only parting with $300 + regifted $100 Pottery Barn card. I would like to "split the difference" and spend some of the saved money being Santa to a needy family. So, while figuring out where to donate my gift-wrapping skills, I stumbled across this request on the Craigslist Volunteer page:

Xmas???please help my children have one
Hello, I am writing this because my children and I lived in hell to the point they were molested by their father, we finaly we have a secure home but we can not have contact with our family that know dad, there is a order of protection involved and these are the only people who would help us, yes we recive public assistance but it just isn't enough after the bills 120.00 twice a month that just covers the light bill, and thankgod for section 8 the rent is paid, I am lined up to start work in a week but I am not sure I will have a check before christmas, anything used toys anything would be a blessing.
Since the mom states that she'd be happy with used toys, this passed my "is this a scam" test easily because (a) even charities don't want used toys, and (b) they have no resale value. So I emailed her for the ages and genders of her kids: boy 12, girl 10, boy 8. She's trying to send me a photo, but she's having trouble with that. They live on Staten Island, but pass through my neighborhood every week on their way to family therapy. I have an unused, still-in-plastic Scrabble game for starters. And I'll bet they could use some of my huge money-making Duracell haul from CVS too. The rest, well, we'll see how the wishlist turns out...I'm thinking artsy-craftsy stuff for the youngest, hair doo-dads for the girl, and maybe a hoodie for the older boy in case I get no guidelines.

1 comment:

Schevus said...

I also had an opportunity to help a struggling family that I found on craigslist. After vetting them to prevent a scam, my wife and I were able to provide them with $250 in gift cards. You can read about it here.