Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thinking of Christmas in August

It may seem odd to be thinking of Christmas in August, but it is for more than just sentimental reasons. The holiday season, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, are a time of year when, as Dickens writes, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute”. Typically, charitable organizations, and food banks endeavor “to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth” for it is in the holiday season “when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

This year, however, a confluence of events makes the outlook bleak for charitable giving.

The high price of crude oil has impacted the price of virtually all consumer good, the cost of commuting to work, or anywhere else, and will cause the price of heating oil this winter to be over 30% higher than last year.

Even while less discretionary income is available, the political campaigns of this presidential election cycle, and the anticipation of expensive and hotly contested initiative elections (such as Proposition 8 on Gay Marriage in California) are tapping into those ever dwindling financial reserves.

And so, I’m thinking of Christmas in August. With less discretionary income available, and with more people in need, what will happen to the “Poor and destitute” this coming holiday season?

No comments: