Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yes, but what's the FULL story (re L&F donations)?


A curious, too-careful-by-half call for donations by Loaves & Fishes leaves an obvious question unanswered.

In an article at its webspace, titled "December donations down by 14%," Loaves & Fishes tells us this, in embolded text:
Yet you our donors have been affected by the economic downturn. The number of December donors is the same this year as last but the dollar amount of the donations is down by 14%. The same number of people are giving but they are each able to give less money this year.
Unhappily, Loaves & Fishes, in their rallies and appeals for donations, has a history of truthiness  [Read this and this, for example.], so a question immediate arises: "Yes, but how much are donations up (or down) for the year!?"

Remember that during this past year Loaves & Fishes benefited greatly by all the misinformation that was going out via media sources ― local, national and international ― that Tent City had been erected within spitting distance of downtown because Sacramento families were displaced due to the housing crisis, and thus it was a bellwether or a new Great Depression.

The news that 1200 people, comprised largely by families, was living in tents at a site just north of downtown was always false.  It is probably the case that exactly zero children were living in Tent City, and that the population in TC (better known in Homeless World as the Wasteland), at its max, was less than 200.  AND, that the people there were largely so-called 'chronically' homeless solo adults whom had assembled east of the Blue Diamond almond plant because they'd been rousted from several other, smaller tent communities in town [including on Bannon Street, proximate to the mission; and in Crack Alley, just off of North B Street].

L&F ends its article with this plea:
Donations in the “giving season” sustain us throughout the rest of the year. Please consider giving a special gift, no matter how large or small, to Loaves & Fishes to help preserve this essential safety net for individuals and families who have fallen into homelessness. Loaves & Fishes relies on private generosity; it receives no government funding.
Yes, during normal years, the "giving season," around Christmas, when people are vulnerable, is a vital time to gather in the bucks, but 2009 is a very, very unusual year for Homeless World Sacramento.

The question hangs out there.  It's the two-ton elephant in the room:  "How much are donations up (or down) for the year!?"

The Bee, to its great discredit, used the L&F article without inquiry.  Its piece, written by Cynthia Hubert, published on Christmas Eve, titled "Loaves & Fishes reports drop in holiday donations," ends shamelessly thus:
Donations to the nonprofit organization may be sent to P.O. Box 2161, Sacramento, 95812, or online at www.sacloaves.org.
Such pap is beneath the glorious history of the Bee which now acts too often like a weak incurious throw rag.  I'd have flunked my high-school journalism class had I written pure advertising drival disguised as an article like Hubert's article which appeared in the Bee on Christmas Eve.

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