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Wake up, MC, there really is a Santa Claus!

After yesterday’s blog posting, It’s About Love, a reader wrote to me and encouraged me to find some way to do my annual fundraising drive for All Faiths Food Bank despite the fact that I don’t have an in-print column.

The thought hadn’t occurred to me, really, and I’m really thankful (in the spirit of the season!) that this reader took the time to read my blog and then encourage me to look for an alternative way to do good for others. I think I thought I couldn’t help All Faiths this year — because I don’t have a print column and perhaps because I’ve got so many struggles of my own right now, that I truly thought I didn’t have the resources to help others.

Luckily, this reader woke me up! He encouraged me to not give up quite so easily as I had. And … he was willing to put his money where his mouth was – by offering up a sizeable donation to get things rolling. Beyond his generosity in offering to make a donation, his gentle kick in the butt is even more important to me — and it proves something I’ve been thinking about ever since Obama was elected.

Americans really do want to pull together. If we all – all of us Americans — just truly have each other’s backs: motivating each other, offering to help strangers, picking someone up when they’re down, giving food to hungry people, and inspiring people we don’t even know to be better than they think they can be on any given day – geez, I know this sounds corny, but is there anything this country couldn’t do? Is there anything we couldn’t accomplish as individual citizens and as collective communities?

If I only help others when I’ve got “enough” or when it’s “easy,” then, that’s not really giving, is it? This reader, even though he said nothing like that at all, made me see that maybe the most important time to give is when you think you have nothing of value to give in the first place.

In addition to not having a print column, one of the reasons I hadn’t pursued a drive was because I felt I had so little to donate in the first place. Without a monthly fee for the column to donate (as I’d done in years past), I knew the best I could donate was $25 or so. I also felt I didn’t have anything of value to offer readers in the drawing I usually offered.

Whatever. I’m casting off my lazy-butt thinking and organizing another All Faiths Food Bank drive! I hope you’ll join me in making a donation – whether $5 or $50 or whatever amount you like – simply go to the All Faiths website at

You’ll be able to make a donation right there online with your credit card and it’s safe and secure (at least they say it is!) and if you don’t mind, just put the words MC Reality in the “Enter Special Instructions Here” box. Or, you can mail a check to
All Faiths Food Bank
717 Cattleman Road
Sarasota, Florida 34232
Just be sure to put the words MC Reality on your check.

The reason I ask you to put MC Reality is so that at the end of the drive, I can ask All Faiths to tell me how much we’ve all raised together. The first year, it was $600; the second year, $6,000. This year — whether we raise $7, $700, or $7,000, every little bit will help feed a hungry man, woman, or child in our community. I know some of my readers are out of state – if you don’t want to donate to All Faiths locally, perhaps you’ll consider donating in your own community!

I’m going to do the fundraising drive through the 18th of December (so any online payments must be made by then and any snail mail checks must be received by them by that date as well). Then, on the 19th, I’ll get the numbers from All Faiths; I’ll hold a drawing, and write up a posting so anyone interested can find out the results!

Speaking of the drawing — every year I always held a random drawing and gave something to two readers who donated to the drive. In past years, I was able to do something through the Pelican Press – free advertising or a gift certificate to a restaurant, etc., but since I no longer have that option, I’ll have to offer what I can – which is me!

So, if you make a donation and wish to be entered into the drawing, just send me an email – by the 18th, don’t forget! — to (or post a blog comment if you prefer); giving me your name and phone # and say “I donated; please enter me in the drawings!” or something to that effect (but please DON’T tell me how much you donated!) and then I’ll make up little slips of paper and have a trusted friend pull two names at random. (Only one chance at the drawing per donor.)

It’s the honor system, so please don’t enter the drawing if you didn’t make a donation; for my part, trust me, there will be no favoritism shown toward readers whose names I might recognize. I’ll just put everyone’s names down on equal sized papers and then my friend will draw two names at random. I know it’s a little bit amateur-hour compared to previous years (when the drawings were held by the editors at the Pelican Press), but … what can I say? Until the New York Times or St. Petersburg Times comes a-callin’, this is the best I can offer!

Winners will be able to choose from ONE of the following FABULOUS “prizes”:
• I’d come and speak to your organization, association or group (as long as it’s in a public space and/or I can bring my own Secret Service detail 😉 and I reserve the right to reject any group or place that I think might be unsafe). I could do a reading from my book or talk about writing, politics, or a million other subjects. I can be funny – contrary to what you’ve heard!
• I’d mail you up to five free copies of my book, Sideways in Sarasota, anywhere in the United States.
• I’d do a write-up about you or your business or a cause you are especially passionate about (but I reserve the right to reject some topics and reserve all editorial content and rights to my own discretion – but I promise to make it good!) and post it on my blog and if appropriate (deemed so by me only!), I’d even submit it to local media if it makes a good community story or message. I can only guarantee posting on my site, however, since most editors ignore me! 😉
• I’d do a press release for an event you have and distribute it to local media and try hard to get you some good coverage.
• I’d post an advertisement about your business or organization or book or artwork, or your favorite charity or volunteer group – whatever — on my blog once every two weeks for three months. I average nearly 100 unique readers per day, so there’d hopefully be some payoff for you in terms of publicity.
• I’d vote Republican in the next election if you want me to!*

Feel free to forward this blog link to anyone you know who might be interested in the fundraising drive and the drawings … the more the merrier!

Okay, so in closing to this massively long blog posting – I want to send a shout out to the man who wrote to me and got me off my rear-end:

You made my Thanksgiving; you might have even made my year. You reminded me of what true generosity is and what it requires of us collectively and individually. If you ever want to meet up and let me buy you a coffee or drink in person – it would be my pleasure.
*Surely, you know I’m joking about this one!

Posted on November 26th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
16 Responses to Wake up, MC, there really is a Santa Claus!
  1. Being held hostage in a blue state
    November 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    The only way to get motion from a dead fish is to make waves. I hope this wakes your left leaning fan base who now need to practice what they preach…………..

    A word of caution, however, the rules your drawing should be limited to one chance per donation and not a chance for each and every dollar contributed. Someone like John may seek to stuff the ballot box, just a thought……… My check is in the mail.

    And I do realize Democrats have been known to steal an election or two, i.e. JFK/West Virgina come to mind.

  2. I donated (from an email from Karen Koenig, spreading the word). Enter me in the drawing. I’ll take the five books when I win.
    David Callahan
    Humanists of Sarasota Bay

  3. Thanks so much for participating, David Callahan! And thanks to Karen Koenig for spreading the word about the drive, etc. I’ve entered you into the drawing and thanks for being interested in the book.

    By the way, I recently recommended the Humanists of Sarasota Bay to a friend I thought might be interested in that group. If anyone’s interested, you can read more about the Humanists of Sarasota Bay at

  4. Mary,
    What can I say; but offer a “sincere” Thank You for getting this most important message out to your readers. While I have just submitted a check and will put it in the mail first thing in the morning, my only regret is that I could not have sent more. You know, I was about to drive to a favorite department store of mine to make a purchase. I had just read your blog about the All Faith’s Food Bank and thought to myself, these are truly challenging economic times. Do I “really” need the item? Was it a need or a want? Well, I sent a check to the All Faiths Food Bank for the amount I was going to spend. Mary, I hope everyone truly knows how bad it really is out there. At the Call Center where I work, we receive dozens of calls each week from residents asking where they may be able to pick up a food item for themselves and their children. Mary, these are not people taking advantage of the system because they simply do not wish to work, these people are our neighbors, are our friends who you know who are either in the process of losing their home, they lost their jobs due to their place of employment going under. The place we most refer the callers to, is the All Faiths Food Bank and Mary, by you’re placing this on your blog,by asking help from your readers, truly helps by providing food for another meal for those in need and less fortunate.
    All I can say Mary; is a HUGE “Thank You” for being there for not only your fans, but for organizations such as the All Faiths Food Bank.
    Respectfully, Dan Zumbro

  5. Dan Zumbro,

    Thanks so much for participating in the drive; I know you participated in year’s past as well, because you won the drawing one year! And, if I remember correctly, you donated that prize to All Faiths as well! Thanks for being part of this drive.

    Please let me know if you want to be entered into this year’s random drawing. Just either post a message here or send an email to me at Thanks again!

  6. Mary, I would rather you “not” enter me in the drawing, but rather donate any money value back to the All Faiths Food Bank in order to provide a meal to one less fortunate. This would truly be a “reward”.
    Respectfully, Dan

  7. Dan Zumbro,
    Okay, well, I’ll enter you sot hat we can see if you win! But will make a note that you want a dollar amount simply donated back to All Faiths. That’s awfully generous of you; and if you win, I will absolutely do as you ask!

    Thanks again!

  8. Well said Dan!

  9. Being held hostage in a Blue State
    November 30, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Where are the Skipper and Gilligan??

  10. MC – Thanks for the “nudge.” I popped a check in the mail today. I really love the All Faiths Food Bank organization. Zoe and I sorted food there this summer. It was a great experience for both of us and I appreicated that they allowed my 7-year old to participate. She really learned a lot.

  11. Oh, Stephanie, thanks so much! I appreciate you participating in the drive. My Mom and I are going to volunteer to sort food too; glad to hear that your daughter was able at such a young age to get involved in something like that.

  12. Scot and I notified our family and close friends that we are forgoing the gift giving/receiving this Christmas and donating to two local charities. The All Faiths Food Bank and HSSC. We have been involved in the residential construction industry and know first hand how many of our treasured tradesmen and their families are in desperate need this year. We love living in Sarasota and if we all pull together we WILL get through this and be a stronger, wiser and an even more generous community. Thank you for spreading the “word” to a much larger audience…

  13. Tammy Lloyd,
    What a great idea — to forgo exchanging gifts to help out our community! Let’s spread this idea around too! Thanks for posting your perspective as well — your industry is definitely one of the most affected by the economic downturn and many folks are out of work and needing help.

  14. Being held hostage in a Blue State
    December 2, 2008 at 9:54 pm


    Yesterday I was at my local WalMart buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Bronco (the Wonder Dog) and was in the checkout line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.
    What did she think I had, an elephant? So, since I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t, because the last time I ended up in the hospital. But, I explained that I had lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and I had IVs in both arms.
    I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is you load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete, so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)
    Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no; I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter’s rear and a car hit both of us.
    I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Wal-Mart won’t let me shop there anymore.
    Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

  15. Hi Mary Catherine,

    Check is in the mail (honestly, not jus a work response).

    I was wondering, did the Pelican Press continue with a drive for All Faiths? If not, maybe they would consider matching the grand total of “your” drive as a contribution to All Faiths. Hey, maybe even a 2 for 1 match. Who knows?

  16. Hey, Howard G!

    Thanks for contributing to the drive! Let me know if you want to be entered into the drawing!


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