Charity Sends Insulting Letter To Needy Families ("So if you decide to sit on your fat a---- at home, too lazy to pick them up, you lose," concluded the letter.) : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread

Organizer Says She Will Resign After Christmas

POSTED: 6:44 a.m. CST November 26, 2002 UPDATED: 12:01 p.m. CST November 26, 2002

ST. ELMO, Ill. -- Needy families in the St. Elmo area who are usually warmed by the generosity of an organization that hands out gifts every holiday season are outright steamed this year.

It seems a letter telling the residents of this rural central Illinois community that they might receive gifts ended with words that had nothing to do with sugar plums or roasting chestnuts.

"So if you decide to sit on your fat a---- at home, too lazy to pick them up, you lose," concluded the letter.

The founder of the 15-year-old volunteer program called Angel Tree said the line was a mistake. Yes, Julie Bushue said, she did write it. But it was only meant for the eyes of Debbie Berg, who succeeded her as the program's organizer.

Bushue explained she was expressing frustration about what happened some years back when only about half of the recipient families picked up their gifts.

"It was a joke from me to her," said Bushue.

Bushue's joke didn't get so much as a Ho Ho Ho from those who read it, though.

"I'd say they are very insensitive, appalling," commented St. Elmo-area resident Madawnya Hollgarth, whose children have received gifts from the program in the past.

Bushue, who said she was "just blowing off steam," sent out another letter apologizing for the first one.

"Please don't let a stupid mistake put a damper on this wonderful Christmas season," she wrote.

But Hollgarth wasn't satisfied with the apology and said the Angel Tree needs some new blood.

Not a problem, said Bushue. "I will never volunteer for anything ever," she said. "I am done completely."

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2002

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