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Dorothy Dixon: Christmas is over, but mailing labels linger

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- High on the list of things I don't need are mailing labels.

I actually took an inventory of those I have on hand: 43 sheets. My mailing labels could conceivably outlive me.

The distribution during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons is particularly prolific -- on the off chance that you did want to add to your current supply.

Of course, I am thankful for my own sumptuous Christmas dinners and, of course, I would be delighted to help feed those less fortunate. And I am eternally grateful for all the gifts life has given me and, of course, I want to share what I have with those not similarly blessed.

But, if you want my help, stop with the mailing labels. Any piece of mail that exhibits the slightest possibility that mailing labels are enclosed goes immediately into the recycle bin. And, while you are at it, enough with the memo pads and greeting cards as well!

Just this morning a charity, which shall go unidentified, sent me a sneaky letter in an unmarked envelope. It managed to bypass the recycling bin, but when I opened it, I found this organization had hit a new low.

To quote: "Dear Ms. Dixon, I recently sent you a set of beautiful labels, two handy matching notepads, and a Certificate of Appreciation -- did you receive them?" Possibly! Or maybe this is a new fundraising technique that spares them the effort and the expense of actually printing and mailing these items without really having to do so.

But mailing labels, notepads and greeting cards are not the only largess that has come my way. Habitat for Humanity contributed quite a nice teddy bear. An Indian tribe sent a small, cozy red tribal blanket -- followed by yet another bear after I foolishly decided I liked the blanket and sent a small donation. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is also into blankets (made in China).

Now, I know these are all worthy causes, but wouldn't the inadequately housed, the Indians and the animals all be better off if the funds spent on buying and mailing these often useless gifts were used for their particular causes.

I have my own limited group of charities to which I contribute. No. 1 on my list is the Salvation Army. It does a lot of remarkably good things, is rated highly for the very small amount of its donations eaten up by administrative and fund raising costs, and it has never sent me a single mailing label.

Dorothy Wehrle Dixon, of Charleston, may be emailed at dwdixon@suddenlink.net.


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