Friday, December 12, 2008

You Look Hungry---Have Some Pajamas!

One day, months ago, when a friend chained me down and held my eyelids open, I saw something on the Oprah Winfrey Show that blew my mind. I swore I would write about it then, but I must have forgotten, so here it is now.

First off, for those of you that are unfamiliar, the Oprah Winfrey Show is a popular television show among women. The host, Oprah, is an awe-inspiringly vain, overweight, empowered woman whose softball interviewing tactics are beloved by PR reps across the nation. Viewers love it when she loses weight and gains it back, or when she unleashes the occasional "you go, girl!"

Anyway, this particular episode showcased the efforts of a handful of people who found, late in life, that charity was their calling, and abandoned their white-collar jobs or mommy duties to work full-time for their charitable causes.

One of the them was a guy who collected books and brought them to elementary schools in Nepal, so the children could have books to read and learn English. He then expanded the program to include children's books written in their native language.

Another--we'll call her Miss Stupidhead--started an organization that donated pajamas to poor children. It is called the Pajama Program.

"Please give me some pajamas..."

Now, keep in mind that these are not pajamas that were lying around somebody's house unused and then shipped in. These are, in a few cases, new pajamas that people purchased and donated; but in most cases, these were pajamas this woman purchased with money people donated.

Imagine this scenario:

"Hello, Miss Stupidhead, I'm pretty damn rich and I've started to feel guilty about it, so I'd like to give something back. A friend at my country club told me you run a charity that benefits underprivileged children and I would like to donate $500,000 to your cause."
"Oh, that's super! I can buy 50,000 pajamas with all that money! Think of how happy those children will be!"
"Umm...pajamas? I'd rather you spent it on food, medicine, education, clothes they can actually wear to school..."
"No--trust me. If there's one thing I learned growing up white and privileged, it's that the one thing poor children need above everything else is pajamas."
"Okay, you're the expert..."

As is her wont, Oprah surprised this woman, on-air, with thousands of pairs of pajamas purchased with funds donated from her viewers.

Again...donated cash turned into pajamas.



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