At the end of the school year, my older son asked me to help out with the Fifth Grade Food Drive, which was organized by student leadership. My job was to deliver boxes of food collected by and from students and their families to a nearby food bank. I did two deliveries of the five scheduled. The final tally for the drive was over a thousand pounds of food collected.

The hugeness of this donation is made more poignant because of the high percentage of students at this school that receive free lunches. In effect, struggling families gave to others in greater need. Working poor and middle class households donated food from their cupboards that wasn’t easy to give; but they did it anyway.

I want to see this kind of generosity from candidates, their parties and donors.

What if presidential candidates, the DNC, and the GOP donated all money raised during the first two weeks in September to food banks or other charitable causes? It’s a revolutionary idea, and would require a leap of faith. Candidates would have to trust their message would be received without using expensive ads around the clock in key districts. Politicians would have to gamble on right action creating good results.

Real giving comes from the hope things will work out if we do the right thing. If families from my son’s school were brave enough to let go of groceries in an economy of insecurity, why can’t candidates fund raise for the needy? It’s not unheard of…

Where I’m from, Clark County, Washington, our auditor is quite popular. Though a Republican, Greg Kimsey always has my vote, and that of every other Democrat I know. In 2009, he turned his annual St. Paddy’s Day campaign fundraiser into an event for the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington. He raised over $3,000 for them ( Though small potatoes compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars the national campaigns gather, it made the point that politicians can directly use their power and influence to help others.

If small town folk like us can give generously of what little we have, why can’t more powerful men and women do the same? If our candidates want to convince us of their sincerity, why not donate a chunk of their war chest to charity? Providing relief for the suffering would say more of a candidate’s character than a thirty second ad bashing the opponent.

It is time to be brave. I see common people being brave every day: giving money, time and energy to their communities. Now, I want to see candidates, political parties and donors think about what they’re doing with all this cash, and consider giving some of it to the needy. It’s time to do right with resources.

  • July 30, 2012