Dec 19, 2015

Humbug Christmas


Altruism?

On Friday night 69NEWS did a Christmas “story”of Alan Jennings handing out envelopes of cash in downtown Allentown. Point one: it wasn’t his money. Point two: how did 69 NEWS know about this event if they weren’t notified in advance by those dispensing of the “charity”? Isn’t anonymity a basic rule of charity? If so, it was totally blown in this story. While one might want to see the upside of any situation, this one strikes me as very galling. Alan could have done the same act with discretion but chose not to. To me, that makes all the difference.
                                                                                   Scott Armstrong

 Because, neither this blog or myself care about being perceived as nice, this submission by Scott Armstrong was accepted without hesitation. Alan Jennings apparently called both WFMZ and the Morning Call, to publicize the handout. He stated to them that the money came from a private donor, one hundred ten dollar bills.

photo: Sharon Merkel / The Morning Call

10 comments:

alfonso todd said...

It may not seem like it to most, but it is a demeaning act. It was done last year also. Give gift certificates to the YMCA, pay someone's college courses or high school tuition fees or household bill but to give cash publicly sends the wrong message, in my opinion.

Alfonso Todd

Dreaming of Justice said...

It IS a demeaning, patronizing act-especially on camera. Shameless and self serving. Way to go!

michael molovinsky said...

alfonso@5:53, although i had no issue publishing scott's take on the gesture, i don't especially share his specific sentiment. however, i never avoid the opportunity to question a sacred cow. jenning's entire organization serves the poor, in one way or another. he's involved with the entire spectrum; from basics such as food banks, to loans, for start up businesses. i'm more critical of those higher end services. i believe in teaching people to fish, even buying them a fishing rod, but not setting them up with a fish market.

Anonymous said...

Mike,Alfonso,

If a donor wants to hand out cards with cash to the poor in center city Allentown my hat is off to him or her. Using Alan Jennings as the vehicle for such altruism however begs the question of what is the purpose of the charity? The "official" photo Mike has pasted onto this post is unsettling to say the least.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Just another example of the distortions that exist in this region as the powerful act in ways to look powerful.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:34, i know and appreciate much of the work alan jennings does. although, i believe that he had only good intentions with handing out the money cards, as an alternative media source, i'm glad to host this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I stand by my statement. Yes, Mr. Jennings means well, but when it comes to his actions described here, there is a deeper narcissistic intent that seems consistent among the leadership, not that it is unknown to be the case for anyone in the public light.

alfonso todd said...

MM,

I am by no means criticizing Alan Jenning's heart or intentions, because I have done the same thing for the residents of Allentown, PA for years with toys and food in the winter and bookbags and supplies during the school season. It was great because there is definitely a need, but after a while I noticed something. As the years passed and the items increased and the sponsors changed, the recipients tended to stay the same and the kids and parents just got older. I was always glad to see them but thought, When will the time come where they no longer have to sign up with the Salvation Army program, complain about how the TOYS for TOTS event ran out of support, inquire about who is giving free items around the community (some people go from place to place which is not need but greed), and figure out who has the laxest "security" (we actually had a family come to one of our charitable events and use their baby stroller to steal toys from our holding room while we were getting food for the children. Now, I am not bitter, to be honest, in fact, I can understand and relate, BUT there has to come a time when people can stand up and want to DO and BE better, if not for themselves then for their children. And by us constantly giving away items with no sense of responsibility or earning, then it creates a type of co-dependence. Children should NOT think it's normal to stand in long lines with other families to wait for community organization toy hand outs; children should NOT think it's normal to be sent by their parent(s) to ask for more charitable items because they have a "brother/ sister" at home that couldn't come; and children should NOT think it's normal to do this year after year with no parent in the household making an effort to do for the family itself. The "wait in line" syndrome, whether for government, food, or charitable assistance, needs to be broken.This is why I stopped. My office WELCOMES families to utilize our radio station, community computer, seminars and workshops to learn more so they can do more. As does the public libraries and countless community organizations in the area. In 2016, the key is not a "hand out" or "hook up" but a "help out".


Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

A tawdry little spectacle. A perfect microcosm of one man's public style.

Anonymous said...

Alfonso,

Very powerful post. You write with insight and authority on a subject most fear to tread. Many will agree few dare to express it.

Thanks.

Scott Armstrong