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The TFT Guide To: Doing your bit for tsunami relief

It's easy to feel powerless in the face of enormous natural disasters, especially if all you've done is sit in front of the telly wishing some more interesting news would come on - you know, something with a proper narrative, intrigue and a bad guy, like a good serial killer. But when you finally do get off your fat arse and drop 20p in a charity tin, how can you be sure you're helping as much as you can?

15 January 2005

1) Make sure you only give to reputable charities. If the man from Christian Aid smells of Special Brew, is carrying a collecting tin with the words 'Canser Relief' crudely crossed out, and says 'Come on mate, you can give a bit more than that!', they may not be an accredited fund-raiser.

2) Collect a bin bag full of bottle tops and tin foil. This won't help tsunami victims, but it will give you a pleasant nostalgia trip back to childhood Blue Peter campaigns. (To heighten the effect, whenever you see someone behave clumsily, stick your tongue under your lower lip, wave your hands about and shout 'JOEY!')

3) If you're a doctor or engineer, travel out to disaster-struck areas and volunteer your professional expertise. If you work in PR, travel out to disaster-struck areas with your lap-top and send out thousands of press releases that are thinly-veiled adverts, eg. 'Breville pledges 200 sandwich toasters', 'Big-hearted Tesco staff donate unwanted Christmas presents', and 'Mr Posh Paws is alive! Whiskas UK sponsors miracle cat'.

4) Organise a charity activity geared to bolstering your own pathetic ego, eg. a workplace fun run that just happens toinvolve getting your picture in the local paper, standing next to Natasha Kaplinsky.

5) It's vital to ensure that charity funds get to the right people. Aid this process by sitting in the pub opining that all the money 'will just go to dictators', and that's why you've just spent 15 on Stella but refuse to put 50p in the collecting tin.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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