Be generous and donate for flood reliefs, but be careful where you donate
By CJ Nishant Tripathi
Today, I finally shunned my laziness, confirmed to my sympathetic emotions and cleaned my closet. I found all the clothes that don’t fit me anymore and a few that I can spare, and packed them up to hand them over at one of the relief camp outlets I see on my way to work, every day. As I drove to my office, I found a congestion on road due to slow moving traffic. I looked out of my window and saw boys, early 20’s holding jars of money, in change and notes, standing in the middle of the road and rushing at the cars, asking for money. I also noticed a shaky table with a careless banner hanging from it reading ‘Flood Relief’ by the side of the road. With warm and honest smile, one of them approached me and held out the half-filled plastic jar and said, “Money for flood-relief”. I said,” I don’t have loose change but got some clothes at the back, if you could just help me out in taking them out.” There was a sudden change in the warm and genuine expressions of the guy as he gave me a cold shoulder and rushed at the other car. I was taken aback by this change in his behaviour.
So, I parked the car on the other side of the road, took three large plastic bags full of clothes I brought for donation and crossed the road through the congested traffic to that flood relief bannered table. I found a lofty man sitting behind the table and fanning himself and slowly dozing off to sleep. I kept the bags at the table and told him “I’d like to donate these.” The guy woke up with a jerk and looked at me and then the bags with a confused expression. Coming back from his slumbering senses, he finally grasped my words and replied, “No clothes, no food, only cash here” in a very thick accent. I was rather surprised at the selected acceptance of donations at a supposed flood relief which, in my thought, should have accepted any help they could find. I took my clothes back, got in my car and gave a 10 rupees not to another guy who rushed for a claimed ‘flood relief’ by the time I got back to my car. I then surfed through the flood relief camps online on few government websites and other local websites like u4uvoice.com, noted down the address of a legitimate flood-relief donation camp which was on my way to work and dropped off my donations. They readily accepted and returned their gratifications for my kind act. I told them about the previous incidence to them and they cautioned me about the fraud acts that scam people by collecting money in the name of flood reliefs. They cautioned about such scams that have cropped up through the city and advised me to research well before donating anywhere.
This is an incident narrated to us by one of our viewers who had a recent encounter with an apparent group of frauds, who in the name of flood relief are fooling people for money and other articles at their unauthentic flood relief camps. Many such cases have been reported throughout the city to us. So we thought to share this very incident and caution people for it. Please be generous and kind in donating for the flood victims but be careful at where you donate.