Tis' the season, for shopping, dining, drinking and for enjoying the family and friends. I love the Christmas season. It also brings with it, a feeling of generosity for people who have enough to share with those less fortunate. However, there are so many these days. So who do we give to?

Panhandlers on the street? 

Nope. I refuse. I would rather give to a nearby shelter or food distributor. This way, I don't have to worry about whether or not my money goes to drugs, alcohol or some other vice that brought the poor soul to the situation. They are all very much aware of where to go to get immediate needs, food, shelter etc..

Corporate charities? 

Tread carefully here. Some of these charities are major cash windfalls for their executive officers and do not give a high percentage of donated monies to actually helping their causes. You'd be shocked to learn of the salaries of some of them.

Found at Snopes.com (A reputable fact checking website)

MY THUMBS DOWN list

* THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans' salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses

* MARCH OF DIMES
It is called the March of Dimes because only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.

THE UNITED WAY
President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.

UNICEF
CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.
Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.

GOODWILL CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to help anyone! Stop giving to this man.

I like to give to local food pantries like St. Anthony's on Acushnet Ave. in New Bedford but there are several other reputable ones in the area as well.

There are also good international and national charities we can trust to bring the majority of the money to end human suffering;

My THUMBS UP list

THE SALVATION ARMY
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.

THE AMERICAN LEGION
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS (VFW)
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

THE MILITARY ORDER OF PURPLE HEARTS
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

THE VIETNAM VETERANS ASSOCIATION
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

MAKE A WISH: For children's last wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.

ST. JUDE Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and can not afford to pay.

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSES
All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critical Children in the hospital.
100% goes to housing, and feeding the families.

LIONS CLUB INTERNATIONAL
100% OF DONATIONS GO TO HELP THE BLIND, BUY HEARING AIDES, SUPPORT MEDICAL MISSIONS AROUND THE WORLD. THEIR LATEST UNDERTAKING IS MEASLES VACCINATIONS (ONLY $1.00 PER SHOT).

Also, my favorite CATHOLIC CHARITIES, which demonstrates annually that they ensure $0.96 of each dollar goes directly toward ending human suffering. Say what you will about the church itself but 2,000 years of charitable practice and no one does it better.

We can all make a difference, especially when we know who to give to and who to ignore.