faux charity

NK hints at something that annoys me greatly, in general, and in specific circumstances like this hurricane: the tendency to engage in a sort of conscience-soothing faux charity, i.e.:

“I am going to hold a cake bake, sell the cakes, and take a fraction of those funds, and give them all to a charity, who is going to hold a raffle to sponsor a free concert downtown, at which we will sell funnel cakes, the profits from which will be sent directly to new orleans where we will have a jazz band playing for tips which will all go to the victims of the hurricane!!!”

As opposed to, you know, just giving money where it’s needed. Now, I realize immediately I will probably take flak for this. Yes, I acknowledge that, say, selling t-shirts to raise money might get people to contribute where they otherwise wouldn’t. Yes, it still annoys me anyway. It’s capitalism posing as charity. Fortunately it appears that with this hurricane a lot of people are giving money – a lot of it, and quickly. So that’s good.

Why can’t we do the same in general? Why do we have to have bake sales for the homeless, bike rides for breast cancer research, or (worst of all) “charity dinners” for anything? Why can’t we just give money, resources or time directly to people that need it?