Madison County Opinion...

November 14, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
November 14, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Charity begins
at home

Among the wise sayings included in American culture is "Haste makes waste." The truthfulness of this statement is made evident by the aftermath of September 11th. Dozens of organizations, old and new, immediately began raising funds to help the victims of the attacks.
Millions of Americans donated money and blood. The generosity of our nation was overwhelming.
The problem is that most of these organizations, including such major groups as the Red Cross, simply were not prepared to properly use the gifts they received. Millions of dollars are now sitting in accounts while organizations try to figure out what to do with them. Many of them are diverting money from the stated cause to cover other expenses. Many of them are expending vast sums on "planning" or other administrative activity. People who donated money specifically to aid the victims have no guarantee that their money will be used for that purpose.
Other gifts, such as blood, clothing and equipment are not being used. The Red Cross has admitted that a significant amount of donated blood will be discarded because they were not prepared to use it or preserve it.
While the charities dedicated to the victims of terror are flush with money, local charities are going bankrupt. Abused spouse homes, food banks, church assistance funds and other local volunteer service providers are scraping the bottom of the barrel for funds and supplies.
Most people have budgetary limits on how much they can give. When most of the available gift money is soaked up by one major crisis, local charities find fund-raising difficult.
So what do we do now? I have always believed in another wise saying, "charity begins at home." I interpret that as meaning we should give to local efforts. The larger the charity, the less opportunity we have to know if our gifts are properly used.
If you have anything left to give for the season, support can drives for the food bank. Give a toy to "Toys for Tots." Even better, if you are aware of a family in need, call several of your neighbors and "adopt" the family for the season.
Direct aid to those in your own community ensures that your gifts go to those who need it. When you give to local charities or directly to those in need, you know how your gift is being used, and can be assured that it goes to the needy, not into the pocket of some administrator.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His email address is

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By Ben Munro
The Madison County Journal
November 14, 2001

From the Editor's Desk

Dogs should have gotten final yard
Let's get this debate out of the way.
Yes, Mark Richt's puzzling decision to run the ball with no time outs on the last play of Saturday's Georgia-Auburn game made about as much sense as Bobby Knight speaking at an anger management seminar.
But the sketchy call shouldn't overshadow the fact that either way you dissect it, three feet were too much to ask of the Bulldogs in their home stadium with revenge against a hated rival in their grasp.
Once again Georgia couldn't make the big play when it counted, once again our guests raided the hedges, once again the Bulldogs are a mid-tier SEC team at best.
Believe me, I know there are bigger tactical problems at hand in the world than whether or not Georgia's ground forces can muster a yard, but as a Bulldog fan in the sports world, the new Dogs' old tricks are becoming excruciating.
Except for what now looks like a fluke win at Tennessee, the red and black is staying in the middle of the pack because they consistently don't show up at crunch time.
And Georgia's newest coach is having to pull out a quote that became standard issue from the Bulldogs' past two head men.
"Well...(INSERT TEAM) just made the plays at the end and we didn't."
Already in 2001, Georgia has watched South Carolina march for a late score to snatch victory from the Dogs while the team could do nothing with four turnovers from the Florida Gators.
And while everybody revels in the last-second score by the Dogs in Knoxville, everybody forgets it only happened because of a huge, late defensive lapse that sent Georgia scrambling to pull the game out of the fire.
And now the Auburn let- down.
A possible 10-win season and attractive bowl bid were still on the table and a game-tying touchdown stood a yard away with 86,000 fans ready to witness the hero who would cross the goal line.
But when the Auburn players shoved Jasper Sanks back, they also shoved the Bulldogs back into the mediocrity they've been mired in for two decades.
We Bulldog fans are a fickle breed, but we've still been there every time the Bulldogs have shown up a yard short and a second late. And we know a team can't keep coming up on the short end of the big play and win a championship.
At last check it's been 19 years and ticking since the Bulldogs have won the SEC. That's no coincidence, my Bulldog brethren.
Now it's way too early to condemn Richt.
He's still done a solid job in his first season as head coach of a school with fans-like me-whose patience has grown slimmer than the yard the Dogs failed to make this past Saturday.
However, how his team shows up in the last three games will tell volumes about his ability to bring a team back from failure.
Hopefully, he'll be able to make the hard yard.
Ben Munro is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers.
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
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