I get that people want to show their support and that we’re taught from a young age the soothing power of spending money… 

But I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little grossed out with all the merchandise available in the aftermath of Monday’s events. I really don’t care if the business is donating all net proceeds or not. How about you just spread the word about reputable places to send donations to, and keep your business out of it? Or something like “join the [business name] family in donating to ___, other options include ____”

I’m happy to show my solidarity by wearing my race shirts, or my blue and yellow. But I’m really uncomfortable with buying a shirt (or any of the other products that I’ve seen and don’t want to name because I’m not trying to call individual small businesses out because that just isn’t who I am) to commemorate what happened. I do not understand the desire to get a physical thing to show that you indirectly helped. I can attribute this directly to a certain organization related to a cancer strongly, though not exclusively, associated with women who has trade marked a you-know-what-color ribbon. Tons and tons of marketing and such a piddly amount going to where the money would be most effective. 

Cut out the middle man and donate directly to the families or a reputable charity involved. It’s your responsibility to research organizations, but since I love you, I’ve done a very quick search for you and come up with these:

Religious? Your religious leader will likely have contacts in Boston. This Sunday’s collection plate might be sent on to Boston to help, and it wouldn’t hurt for you to call and ask if this possibility can become a reality. 

Atheist? Atheists Giving Aid (who raised $25,000 for families of Sandy Hook victims) is raising funds again. 

Somewhere in between?

The Red Cross, blood or money, but remember to wait a couple weeks on the blood. Blood is shelf stable for a limited time and often times hospitals run low a few weeks later. If you’re eligible, donate often. Accidents and emergencies happen. It’s easy to do, even for this blood and needle phobic individual. 

The One Fund, set up by MA’s governor and Boston’s mayor.

The Richard Family Fund (contact Meetinghouse Bank or Vargas & Vargas Insurance for more information).

The Salvation Army, if you don’t find them to be morally reprehensible. 

We live in a world where people bomb marathon finish lines. We also live in a world where some people are so desperate for quick money that they are more than happy to try and capitalize on the grief of others. In your desire to help, please be smart about it. 

*I’m not passing judgement if you buy a shirt or other product. I’m just saying there’s another way. 

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