Canadians have never shied away from giving to the needy. We are, by and large, a fairly socialist society that believes that when we help each other, we all win.
Canadians have proven that in an undeniable way, over the past week, in their generosity towards the unfortunate folks in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire that swept through the town and is still burning through the province had forced more than 80,000 people from their homes. Many of those people will return to find their home, their neighbourhood, gone.
But their Canadian brothers and sisters have opened doors to them, provided food and shelter, and have donated to the United Way and Red Cross. The Canadian government, in turn, has offered to match donations, dollar-for-dollar, to help the town rebuild and help those Albertans get their lives back to normal.
My wife and I gave to the Red Cross, as we've given any time there are people in need. We went to their Web site, and donated $150. Not a huge donation, but we give what we can.
Many stores, across the country, are collecting for Fort McMurray at check-out counters. I used to give to these causes, as I paid for my groceries or beer, but I don't anymore. I refuse to give at the check-outs, and here's why.
For years, I would give anywhere from $2 to $10, to CHEO, to MADD, to the United Way, but no more. Because when I give a few bucks here and a few more there, it adds up. And these stores, who collect for these great causes, don't give tax receipts. And while I don't care about a couple of bucks, I figured that I typically gave about $200 a year at the check-out counter, and that adds up to a nice tax deduction.
If I give $200, I want to claim it.
And while I don't get a tax receipt for my donation, the companies that are collecting on our behalf are, most likely, getting a deduction when they put all of our money together and writing that big cheque to the charity.
Maybe not all of them are, but most.
And so, a couple of months ago, I stopped. I keep my change in my pocket, or I decline the addition to my bill.
I want to help, but I don't want a corporation to take the credit.
Don't forget to give.