This post of Doug Jones was the first one I chanced upon the morning--it's also the one that has stayed with me all morning.
I'm signing off Active Rain now, and heading to Quicken, where I'll be making a few extra donations to those who need hope, love, and friendship.
I'm sure you'll agree that Doug is an awesome person when you read his post.
What is sadder than a poor child not getting a Christmas gift? The expectation of getting a gift and then not getting it.
There were more than 800 kids lined up at the venue where I was to perform my last charity magic show of the year. But when I walked inside the venue there were only chairs set up for about 80 people and there were gifts for about 80...but outside there were hundreds lined up.
Inside it was calm but outside it was chaotic. There was a very loud air system inside and no sound system and I thought that it would be impossible to be heard. When the doors were opened children were told where to sit and I thought "when you are poor you are always in line and people direct you where to go and what to do"..The hosts were considerate but there was still an authority presence that felt uncomfortable.
Finally folding chairs were set up for an additional 200 but then the doors closed and several hundred children were turned away completely. They had come in hopes of seeing a magic show, seeing Santa and getting a gift. Inside the audience was told that only the first 80 or so would get gifts. The others would not- that was sad.
I prayed on the side that I would give the best show ever because these kids were really feeling the sting of poverty--that there was not enough and in an indirect way, that they weren't good enough. The last statement sounds like a stretch but I have been the kid who was turned away and I know the feeling.
The Non Profit that put on the event wanted a happy event for the kids. They just did not expect the number of people that turned out. They could learn from other social agencies such as the Salvation Army how to manage and how to prepare. I felt bad for them.
But, then the magic show started and I was doing my "warm up the audience" tricks before the good stuff and then a person came up behind me and said, "One more trick". I was stunned. I was told to do magic for 30-45 minutes and here I was about the 6 minute mark. I have been a stage magician for 20 years and have been paid thousands of dollars for a show and do magic on TV- I know the quality of the magic..so I was stunned. I felt the crowd deserved better than this but I was told because of the chaos (started 40 minutes late with the setting up of the chairs, etc) that the show had to be short. Wish they had told me this when I started and then I would have gone straight to the good stuff.
I felt so bad for the kids. Not only did they come to a church hall expecting a show, Santa and gifts but only a hand full got gifts and all were rushed along as less than valuable people. This Charity event fell way short on any reasonable expectations of what is required to give to the community. What is sadder than a poor child not getting a Christmas gift? The expectation of getting a gift and not getting and to be put into an environment where your poverty is greatly pronounced.