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Not All Charities Are Created Equal

The holidays are a time for giving. The holiday cheer inspires people across the nation to give to those less fortunate than themselves. This giving spirit is everywhere you go, from the little red buckets outside of the supermarket to the canned food drives setup in local schools, churches, and community centers. Giving to charity is a wonderful thing, but what people need to remember is that not all charities are created equal. People may not realize that, by giving to malicious causes, they are doing more harm than good. From corporate greed to hateful agendas and everything in between, even the most seemingly innocent of charitable organizations can have a dark side. Here are two “charities” to avoid this holiday season:

1. The Salvation Army

You may be fooled by the little red buckets and the smiling Santas ringing bells, but the Salvation Army is arguably one of the worst charities out there. Since its founding, the Salvation Army has gotten away with discrimination and corruption, disguising it all as part of their “religious morals.”

The Salvation Army has been known to refuse to help homeless people and families who either didn’t identify as Christian or who were a part of the LGBTQA+ community, resulting in several deaths of those in such communities. An official of the Salvation Army even stated, back in 2012, that he believed that people of the LGBTQA+ community deserved to be put to death. These facts can come as a surprise to some, as the company often claims it is an aid to all of those who need them. Shouldn’t that include people of other religions and sexualities?

In addition, a lot of your money doesn’t even go to helping the poor, it goes to building $100,000+ homes for their officers, new cars, phone bills, internet, etc.

“This is one of the most inviting things about the Salvation Army ministry,” says Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett, a Salvation Army Officer The philosophy of the Salvation Army is to completely release me from the responsibility to buy houses, buy vehicles and provide these things for me and my family, and then frees me up to do what I’m called to do, which is to reach out in the name of Christ to people who are in desperate need” (Saint Pete Times: Marlene Sokol, Sue Carlton and John Martin).

It isn’t a bad thing to pay your employees, but the six figure homes and cars seem a little excessive. So does The Salvation Army “do the most good”, as they famously proclaim? I don’t think so.

2. PETA

Listen, I may not be a vegan, but I’m all here for it. What really grinds my gears, however, is whenever an organization guilt-trips others into living their lifestyle. Nobody does that better than “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” or PETA, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, animal cruelty is horrible and I want it to end as much as anybody else. However, PETA goes about abolishing it the wrong way. They guilt and scare people into believing in their agenda. It has been proven that PETA often fakes a lot of its promotional videos, the ones with the slaughterhouses and the sad faces of farm animals.

While I don’t doubt that many slaughterhouses are cruel places, many investigative reports have shown fabricated footage used in these types of videos, with PETA employees often inflicting cruelty on or even murdering animals to prove their point. PETA has also been known to spread false information and slander certain practices and industries. PETA raises tons of revenue every year due to these shock tactic videos that often lead people to feel scared and guilt-ridden, even though the story presented may not be the full one. If PETA really cared about the wellbeing of other creatures, they would use facts and evidence to prove their point, not lies. Stunts like this make PETA seem less like a benevolent peace bringer and more like just another corporate money-mill.

The list could go on, as there are many crooked organizations out there. Large, big name charities with evil practices easily take away from smaller, lesser known organizations that have the greater good in mind. Not all corporate charities are malevolent; there are many that give selflessly. We, as givers, need to do our research and be mindful of which charities are doing more harm than help. If we understand where our money is going, we can truly work towards making this world a better place for all, one dollar at a time. Happy holidays!

Sophia is a junior theatre major and creative writing minor at Muhlenberg College. She is also very passionate about writing, reading, and politics.
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