Charity Corner Chat
A certain kindly Acara has recently made a big splash with her keen holiday spirit. Spearheading what has proven to be the largest and most successful toy drive in Neopian history, Granny Hopbobbin is not without her detractors. She was kind enough to invite us in for a fireside interview earlier this week.
VULXE: Thank you for opening your home to us, Granny Hopbobbin.
GRANNY: Please, call me Martha. How's your cocoa? Would you like another marshmallow, dear?
VULXE: It's delicious as is, thank you, Martha. So I've been very curious about what prompted you to open your Charity Corner this year. Could you please tell us about your motivation?
MARTHA: Certainly. You see, the Day of Giving is my favourite holiday on the calendar. For me, it meant my children and grandchildren coming together and exchanging gifts, eating hearty food and having quality family time. But time doesn't stand still, and I've watched my grandchildren grow from burbling babes to independent young adults. My annual gatherings got smaller and smaller, until last year my youngest granddaughter pecked me on the cheek and said, "Granny, I love you, but next year my friends and I are going skiing on Terror Mountain for the holidays." I can't expect them to stay young forever, or for my sake. It's the natural progression of life.
VULXE: So you decided to find a new way to express your love of Gifting?
MARTHA: Yes, I did. While my own family were all grown up now, I looked around me and saw hundreds, thousands of children who went without. I know the Day of Giving is about more than just presents, but I thought that if I could help make their special wish come true it would bring warmth both to their day and my own. Thus the Adopt a Neopian program was born.
VULXE: I think it's a fantastic idea. I know that many Neopians would like to help out their fellow pet but may not know the best way to. You've opened up an easily accessible way to help each other out. How do you select the letters?
MARTHA: Well to start with I spoke with people I met at the Soup Kitchen. I figured that they would be down-on-their-luck and good candidates to trial the program with. I also swung by the Pound, both to collect wish letters and to visit the pets there. It's heartbreaking to see so many pets without someone to share the holidays with. Since the launch of Charity Corner, I've had bags and bags of wish letters mailed in to me. I feel bad for the poor Weewoo who services my neighbourhood, as I'm sure his workload has increased dramatically.
VULXE: Perhaps you could surprise him with a little holiday appreciation, to thank him for his help in realising your idea?
MARTHA: Sounds like a lovely plan, Vulxe. I might just do that.
VULXE: Aside from the Adopt a Neopian project, you have also created the toy drive. This has been met with controversy from some groups in the community, namely restockers. Can you tell us about that?
MARTHA: The toy drive was intended to be a way to encourage Neopians to search their SDBs and give to those who might appreciate it more, namely children. A Blue Mynci Puppet is fine and dandy gathering dust in a safety deposit box, but even better when being played with by an ecstatic little boy or girl. The idea is that Neopians can donate 5 different toys from a certain rarity range, and in exchange receive a random item from the same rarity range. I designed it this way to try to reward different levels of donations appropriately, as rarity 90 donations are harder to come by than rarity 70 ones. As you said, though, restockers and collectors haven't been too fond of this system. This is because it meant that r99s, items of limited quantity and massive pricetag, have been gifted out. I have received some snarky letters criticising me for ruining the economy, or devaluing their gallery.
VULXE: How do those letters make you feel?
MARTHA: Miserable. I mean, I understand why some people would feel frustrated that the value of certain items might decrease a little. They work hard to earn nice things, and to have someone receive it as a random reward would seem unfair to them. But I implore those angry Neopians to remember the whole point of the Charity Corner. It's not about receiving, it's about giving. Instead of responding with anger at someone else's good fortune, remember that they had donated to needy children. Instead of feeling jealousy at your friend's Zombie Draik Egg, be happy for them. And please, instead of feeling spite towards me, think of the children who are being helped through my program. There is an idiom, that kindness is its own reward. That is true. But if a little incentive encourages donations, I think the ends justify the means. To date, we have received more than 20,000 toy donations to redistribute to where they're most needed. The negativity hurts, but the grateful smiles of the little ones heals that wound like nothing else in the world.
VULXE: Do you have anyone helping you sort through and send out those 20,000+ donations? It seems like a lot of work for one lady.
MARTHA: I couldn't do it by myself, deary, not at my age. Fortunately I have a team of Felves working around the clock to assist me with the Charity Corner. They're mischievous when left to their own devices, but if given a clear task they actually make very industrious little workers. One is in charge of matching donations to recipients, one boxes, one wraps and one mails them off.
VULXE: Felves helping with all the toys? Sounds like a very smart idea, Martha. You're clearly a dedicated and charitable soul. I think I can speak for all the needy children in Neopia when I say thank you for bringing these programs to our community this holiday season. Thanks to you, come the Day of Giving, there will be thousands of beaming faces around the world. You have set a bright example for others to follow.
MARTHA: I'm glad you think so, Vulxe.
VULXE: Before I go, I want you to have this. It's a little something to reward YOU for all your efforts and generosity.
MARTHA: You didn't have t- oh! A Damask Fringe Scarf. It's beautiful, thank you.
VULXE: Ignore the haters, Martha. The Charity Corner is a great program and we're lucky to have you reminding us of what the holidays are truly about- giving. Thank you for your time today. Will we see you next year?
MARTHA: We'll see, deary! We'll see.