Is it just me, or is this whole Wal-Mart “fighting hunger together” thing kinda creepy? It’s a charitable promotion being conducted through Facebook, but it’s when I start to imagine the faces of the “losers” in this thing that I wince.
Don’t get me wrong. I applaud Wal-Mart BIG time for helping; there’s obviously no more basic need than food, and I’m an automatic fan of any company who attacks the problem. Whether it’s driven by civic responsibility, enlightened marketing, or whatever – hungry people get fed.
But in this particular effort, cities and towns are pitted against one another. The community that gets the most people to “like” its effort to capture Wal-Mart’s attention wins $1 million for its food banks, etc., The next five highest finishers get $100,000 each. The ones further back in line get what they already have: nothing.
On the surface, it feels good to think that, with that absolutely free and painless little ‘click” on the Facebook link, I’m somehow helping those in my community (Grand Rapids, MI) who go to bed hungry. But, as I click, I can’t help but think that I’m also saying, “‘Take THAT, Fresno’s hungry. You’ll just have to starve.” or “Sorry, St. Louis. Better luck next hand-out.”
I don’t mean to be a critic. But there’s something about making a competition out of it that makes me a little queasy. People are people, and people everywhere deserve to be fed. I’m not sure that turning it into a provincial “root for the home hungry” is the way to do this.
Couldn’t the money go to where the need is most pronounced? Or divvied up to wherever Wal-Mart has stores? Or to the most promising ideas, or to the organizations in each town that have proven they make the money go the furthest?
I want us all to do something, and something meaningful. It’s the season of good cheer. But just feel that that “cheer” we’re talking about shouldn’t be “Hey, hey, whaddya say? Click and take their food away!”
Best of all, do more than “lift a finger.” Get off your butt and do something that really helps.