Saturday, October 23, 2010

Don't Read the PD Comments Section

Plain Dealer Covers Benefit

I know that I should never read the comments on the Plain Dealer website. They are always so hateful toward homeless people. The anonymity provided by the site seems to bring out the worst in people. I do not understand how the Plain Dealer requires rigorous oversight of the letters section, but gives free reign to those commenting on their website. There is no verification, and the commentators can say anything that they want. I shouldn't read them, but they are on the bottom of every story.

So, I think we need some clarity here. This is a benefit to raise money for Catholic Charities and NEOCH. We traditionally do a dinner and auction in May to raise money. It is always a wonderful event, but very few of our own constituency are able to attend the event. We got the idea this year to allow everyone of our supporters to put the dress and business attire back in the closet, and instead support a once in a lifetime meal for a group that does not usually get the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining meal. The $40 ticket price does not cover the cost of the meal. The tickets are the same price as our May benefit. It is just our constituency gets to enjoy the meal this year.

The low income in our city appreciate your donations of canned foods and other donations, but how many nights of pasta with red sauce is healthy? The Cosgrove does an amazing job of spreading dollars to serve everyone who comes to the door everyday. They are a critical resource in this community, and rarely get the credit they deserve. We have all had a tough two years in the United States with service cuts, massive job losses, and much moving due to the loss of housing. These individuals who have faced job loss or were the victims of a predatory lender or experienced a health care crisis that bankrupted them deserve a good meal once a year. I would refer you to Christine Lavin for the genesis of this idea:

If I had a million dollars
If I were and entrepreneur
I would rent the Plaza Hotel for a day
Rent an Englishman for the door

I'd send out embossed invitations
Announcing: Come one, Come all
To the social event of the season
The Annual bag ladies ball

From the streets of Greenwich Village
From the benches on Tenth Avenue
From the tenements of Harlem
Would come bag ladies two by two
Dragging their treasures behind them
Humming some faraway song
It's a sight New Yorkers will never forget
Bag ladies marching along
Now they'll each get a suite for the evening
With a bath and a telephone
They'll dine in the elegant Oak Room
With their bag lady friends, not alone

They'll sip Champagne in the Palm Court
Stroll down the carpeted halls
Now excitement is mounting for everyone
At the annual bag ladies ball

Precisely at 10 the music begins
Bag ladies crowd the dance floor
There's waltzes and foxtrots and tangos and two steps
And sambas, merenges and more

They exchange the politest of pleasantries
As they gracefully sway to the tunes
When the band takes a break, they're served Ice cream and cake
And are all given silver balloons
The Bag Ladies Ball is an awesome song written and performed by an amazing artist. Yes, we could pay for 1,000 meals with the donations that come in, but that is not the point of the Hand Up Gala. The point is to provide a memorable meal to people who have struggled during this downturn. The point is to try to support the two organizations by gathering volunteers and regular contributors. The point is to raise the profiles of both organizations, and most of all to provide something memorable to the people who felt the full force of the downturn.

Brian Davis
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