Whom is the Salvation Army really saving? (and other uncharitable schemes)

It’s that time of year again, and a YouTuber who often researches shady businesses has some bad news for you good folks, about those bell-ringers with the little red buckets:

Yup, the Salvation Army has not learned much from the lessons of its very messy past. They’d rather YOU, their prospective donor, just feel guilty and throw money at them.

And if you happen to call on them for help, you face being forced to abide by their distinctly sexist and homophobic rules, which seem to be more about saving their own faces (and “converting” the “sinners”) than about actually making a positive difference in needy people’s lives.

And if you work for them, and you’re not a member of the brass but just some peon in their drug-rehab program, you might be paid just 75 cents an hour…or less. In other words, sub-poverty wages. Not exactly the stuff of which productive members of society are built.

But enough about ol’ Sally. On “Giving Tuesday”, the day when everyone who’s already all tapped out from “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” is supposed to dig deeper into their pockets and help those even less fortunate, the heavily strapped grocery buyers of Canada were hit with an insult to their collective intelligence, courtesy of all those loyalty-points programs we bought into at the store:

An email sent by Loblaws encouraging its customers to donate their Optimum loyalty points is not going over well.

On “Giving Tuesday,” the grocery corporation, in partnership with some food bank charities, suggested customers who collect PC Optimum points donate them directly to several partnered charities.

“We’re proud of the many charitable things we do to help Canadians live life well, but we’ll leave all that for another day,” the message reads. “Instead, and for the first time ever, we’re handing over our PC Optimum platform — a direct line to millions of Canadians like you — to our partners at Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest.”

The email goes on to acknowledge the rise of inflation worldwide along with the food insecurity crisis and how it disproportionately impacts women, children and marginalized communities.

While it encourages people to donate their PC Optimum points, it also suggests donating directly or to one of the grocery chain’s food drives, which will be matched up to $100,000.

Isn’t that rich? The wealthiest chain of grocery stores in the land, which could so easily afford to donate directly to the food banks themselves and cover ALL the needs of food-insecure Canadians for decades, is asking you and me to do it instead, and for whatever we manage to cough up, they’ll merely “match” it with a pittance. So generous!

Pity the poor cashiers, whose low-paid jobs require them to ask us if we would like to donate our measly hoard of points so some poor family out there doesn’t starve. Pity, also, those who volunteered to ring the bells for the Salvation Army kettles, strategically positioned right next to the oversize yellow No Frills grocery cart where we can drop off the donated goods we just paid an inflated price for.

And pity, also, those of us who can’t donate, because we need those points ourselves, even though what they will buy us is shrinking year over year while the cost of food skyrockets, shortages keep hitting, and “shrinkflation” runs rampant. And we are going to feel like shit for our own budget anxiety and increasingly tightened belts, while Galen Weston & Co. make out like the bandits they actually are, and never lose a single night’s sleep over us.

We may as well just chip in to buy the man his next mansion. Or will it a big-ass boat? Tomayto, tomahto, let’s buy Galen a yacht-o. After all, it’s the giving season! Won’t somebody think of the poor little rich guys?

Hey, I know. Maybe Galen should ask the Salvation Army to pay for his next big-ticket purchase. After all, they’ve got all those donations that they’re not using for anything good…

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