The Right Opinion

Giving Thanks for America's Givers

By Michelle Malkin · Nov. 21, 2012

Chandler Osborn, 14, watched Fox News coverage of Hurricane Sandy last week and decided to take action.

“Last weekend, me and my younger brother, Cooper, 7, did a fundraiser in Colorado Springs to help the people” affected by the storm, he told me. The siblings set up a table at the Colorado Springs Sugar Plum Festival, gave away patriotic car magnets and pins for any donations, and collected signatures on a giant banner of support for the victims. “We raised $612 in one weekend.”

The Osborns joined countless Americans across the country who stepped up, in small and large ways, to help their fellow citizens in need. While this election season was a contentious battle between makers and takers, this Thanksgiving season is a time to honor the givers who keep the nation's private philanthropic spirit alive.

In times of crisis, it's individual citizens, churches, businesses and charitable organizations – not federal government bureaucrats – who mobilize first and fastest to provide aid and comfort. Tom Laureys noted in the Parsippany (New Jersey) Daily Record: “The first people to help Hurricane Sandy victims were the neighbors helping their neighbors for free. The Red Cross was the first organization to arrive to help. FEMA was the last. The FEMA workers stayed at the Soho Grand Hotel at $310 per night.”

On Staten Island, a group of residents banded together, bought their own walkie-talkies, and provided the debris-clearing and water-pumping services that no one else was providing.

“We've done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need,” Frank Recce, a 24-year-old longshoreman and Army Iraq War veteran who organized the “Brown Cross” group, told

Here in Colorado Springs, the raging Waldo Canyon wildfire brought volunteers of all political stripes together to support local first responders and help nearly 350 devastated families who lost their homes.

By the time President Obama arrived in Colorado nearly a full week after the fire ignited, churches, businessmen and civic groups had united to donate mountains of clothes, lend phones, shelter pets and open their homes to the displaced. The outpouring of compassion was so overwhelming that volunteers were turned away from shelters and centers.

The left-leaning Colorado Springs Independent, conservative Focus on the Family, Pikes Peak United Way, World Arena, the city's philharmonic and others raised more than a half-million dollars during a community benefit concert for the Waldo Canyon Victim Assistance Fund.

One organization, Care and Share, collected nearly 73,000 pounds of food and water for the brave firefighters who battled the blaze. On top of that, Care and Share volunteers distributed more than 440,000 pounds of food and water to affected residents. An amazing surplus remains: The group has 332,593 pounds of food and $379,032 in donations remaining to distribute for the holidays.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, America's top 50 donors gave a total of $10.4 billion in 2011. But it's the small, unsung acts of everyday giving and doing – like the Osborn brothers' $612 or the Staten Island citizen brigade's do-it-yourself volunteerism – that add up. In sum, Americans contributed $136 billion to charitable causes. The median discretionary income of the American giver? $54,783.

God bless America, the Charitable.



Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

Amen Michelle! If the government would get out of the way, there would be an explosion of charitable giving in this country!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM

countrygirl in Texas replied:

So true, Emcee, so true.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Gov govs best that govs least!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 5:26 AM

Truthseeker in Springfield, MO said:

Funny how liberals are always so generous with other people's money, and so inefficient with it at that! Actually, it is not funny at all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM

pete in CA said:

>"Americans contributed $136 billion to charitable causes. The median discretionary income of the American giver? $54,783."<

The government sees that as more taxes.

I can't begin to imagine how much Americans gave to their local churches and community groups before big government decided it could distribute charity better. Most church and local groups consist of unpaid volunteers who show up when they can or when they are needed.

Government hires millions of people and pays them to show up every day, whether they need them or not, whether they do anything or not.

That is why 80% of taxes taken by force to "redistribute to the needy" end up going to the red-tape producing machine known as "big government."

You want to help your neighbors? Keep it local. Get government out of it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Blessed in NJ in Brick, NJ said:

I would like to thank all those who contibuted and continue to contribute to bringing many NJ communities back. My family only lost power for nine days, but we still have our house intact, and were able to hook up to our neighbor's generator to save our food. Thanks to natural gas had heat and hot water throughout. We are not complaining at all, but are thankful. We had crews from Detroit fix our power. It boggles the mind to hear how far some of these crews travelled. I heard of crews from all over the place, and saw many, many trucks of electrical crews, telephone crews, and tree crews from all over the place headed East on 195 as I was headed Westbound to work. And they're still here. I was able to call out "Thank you!" to a crew who I came across close to our town (from Michigan!), and the shout out I got back was, "Thank you for your hospitality!" No problem guys & girls. No problem. I would like to say Thank You from all of us who were affected in some way. Are the regular people of this country great or what!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

it all comes down to when has the government ever not scewed up anything it had its fingers in. Americans working together and helping each other can always get things done better than the government..

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Retired Sarge in Rockville, IN said:

AMEN and AMEN!!! When left to our own resoucefulness, AMERICANS can and WILL pull together.

The FEMA workers staying in the lavish hotel may have been out of necessity and I'm quite certain the govt did not pay more than the local govt rate. As a federal employee, I too have stayed at "lavish" hotels, but at the local govt rate. The more lavish the hotel, the fewer the amenities has been my experience. It also means your per diem (adusted per locale) probably won't go very far, so you may be sleeping on a nice bed, but there's likely a McDonald's hamburger container in the trash can.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

If these people can raise that kind of money for people in need it's obvious they could be paying more taxes so that the government and Obama can take care of us, you know, the way it's supposed to be!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM