An act of charity not all that nice

Some people say it is a naively childish symbolism of wanting others to join you to do what appears good. Others, that it is hardly worth the public attention you get in the Press, on television, and on Facebook and Twitter and whatever else.

Yet others wouldn’t be a part of it because they do not like the public dare, and being told what to do –– and for whom.

And even more feel this new fad –– the Ice Bucket Challenge –– isn’t all that fun it is made out to be: surely not for the screaming participants who must take the deluge of water and large ice cubes on their heads and shoulders.

Originally, as we understand it, the cold hard facts surrounding the Ice Bucket Challenge was that those who were contributing to the financial support of the medical development and care for victims of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS) would first come to the point of experiencing, at least momentarily, the loss of muscle control, which ALS sufferers must deal with daily. A true grasp of this discomfiting ailment might even raise higher than normal contributions to the cause of the afflicted, it was believed.

The American media were so melodramatic with the daring and presentation of this charity scheme, that other “benefactors” took to using the Ice Bucket for other causes presenting much less traumatic suffering and boasting equal or more frenzied publicity.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, an essentially out of the ordinary method meant to raise money, even made its way to Britain. You are nominated for the challenge, and you can either choose to do the deed, typically on video, or give a determined sum of money to the cause –– or donate and take the ice too!

Quite a few we have seen standing under a front-end loader’s bucket of ice and water.

Not ourselves secure from the absurdity that derives from the United States, we too right here in Barbados have latched on to this downright dangerous endeavour, if more for the popularity it might afford those of us particpating than for any deep expression of kindness in giving to selected charities.

A cold fact is that it isn’t the Ice Bucket that matters; only the benefit to the deserving charity.

Who in their right mind will wake up tomorrow and wonder: “If I could only have a bucket of ice cold water on my head for charity today, then I’ll have accomplished something really good and important!”?

Perhaps those who normally yield to peer pressure will. Hardly those of us at Barbados TODAY who have been challenged on video by LIME’s Temeika Hoyte; Maria Higgins of Dell Barbados Inc., LIME’s management services crew; and Kim Tudor of NISE to be iced for the Challenor School. We can surely help in whatever small way with the “rehabilitative services for the 50 children ages four to 18” other than taking the momentary trip through the condition of ALS, or suffering chill as a consequence to the body’s intolerance to the low temperatures, compliments of the Ice Bucket.

At a minimum, the Ice Bucket Challenge will consume several hours of our time and life. There’s the organizing of the ice water, the finding of a bucket, or its substitute big enough to hold adequate gallons or more of ice, and precious water (which Jamaica could do with right now) and will be wasted . . . .

Not to mention the time taken to recruit videographers to cover the event for social media, and effort in sending emails announcing the taking up of the dare and inviting colleagues to witness the overrated “momentous occasion” which we will be putting ourselves through –– after, advisedly, a change of the clothes for the “cold weather”.

The more we think of it, it seems like much time, and energy, and heart. And for what?

Yes, it’s a charity. But we need not traumatize the children of the Challenor School by making it known them the evil “blizzard” we must go through to their good cause.

Where will we draw the line in all of this?

Will the Ice Bucket Challenge improve our lives and bring us closer to concern and love for fellow man? Hardly. Will it help raise funds for charity? Maybe. When looking at the Ice Bucket Challenge participation with utter, brutal and cold honesty, is it the best use of our time? No!


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