The Sexist

Feeding the Homeless Has Never Been So Sexy


Want to help poor people while secretly scoping the charity "scene" for prime hubby material? Ask Miss A contributor Laura Swanstrom Reece has penned a guide to D.C.'s "charity circuit" for women interested in reaping some personal benefits from their selflessness. Work the circuit, ladies—feeding the homeless has never been so sexy! Or strange. A quick primer on a socialite's most social of charity options:

Interested in putting your sex appeal at work to cure dementia in the elderly? Suit up for Blondes vs. Brunettes, a "powder-puff football game" (ew) that pits the only two flavors of women against each other, for Alzheimer's. Cute boys of both hair colors serve as coaches. Bonus: The organization will also help you "stay fit."

Looking for a more exclusive charitable organization to add to your MRS resume? Try The Madison. This local civic organization, which only accepts 20-somethings, caps membership at 100 local ladies and requires members to "possess a college degree" and "have never been married." No leftovers!

If you have been divorced, resign yourself to joining Single Volunteers of DC, which requires only that members be "single . . . not married, and currently not in a committed relationship." Volunteers must also be ready to mingle. Members, paradoxically, must always be prepared to find romance with fellow volunteers—"If you are unable to enter into a dating relationship at this time, you should not volunteer with us"—at which point, presumably, they must cease their charity work with the organization. No kids allowed, but the recently separated are free to join—as long as they are prepared "to date others" and are "honest about your status" with dates. You know: "Cathy, before we deliver these hot meals to the elderly, I thought you should know that I'm still legally married."

Really want to help feed the homeless? For a charitable organization devoid of juicy deets about its bumpin' social scene, try Martha’s Table, where volunteers are always needed to help "at-risk children, youth, families and individuals in the DC area" by facilitating with "educational programs, food, clothing and enrichment opportunities." Huh.

  • Lizrd

    I've got nothing of substance to add, besides HOW RIDICULOUS!

  • groggette

    I know you have a whole rest of the article up there but I couldn't make it past this:

    Blondes vs. Brunettes .... the only two flavors of women

    wait what??

  • Em

    As someone who works with the homeless, it's thankless and frustrating work and probably not the ideal way to meet a husband. Not that these organizations are probably doing all that much good outside of making rich people feel good about themselves and find dates. So silly.

  • jules

    so if you're a can't play football?

    I'm confused.

  • Amanda Hess

    @grogette Didn't you know? There are only two kinds of girls! Blonde ones and brunette ones. As a redhead, I plan to quietly tend the Gatorade container on the sideline of girldom.

  • Lizrd

    @Amanda You redheads are so sassy.

  • kza

    You can't die your hair blonde or brunette for the good of homeless people? What homelessophobe.

  • Brennan

    These links are just a giant explosion of WTF? but I guess I'm most confused by SVDC. When I was a teenager, we made fun of the idiots who came to work camp to hook up, passed notes during NHS meetings, had arguments over who's the cutest volunteer on site, ect. They made an entire organization for that? Finding love through shared ego-boosting? And they apparently don't realize how deeply problematic this is? Someone has missed the point, like whoah.

  • Ang

    What is "the homeless?" Some kind of disease? People without homes, please.

  • Northwesterner

    I used to make fun of people like that until I grew up and realized how intensely happy they were and how my friend who married an heiress spends June in Europe, July at the Vineyard and August in the islands before he returns to dabble in teaching.

    They are much much happier than you are and their vacations are so much better. Doubt me if you will, but wait until you turn 40 and you don't have money to take vacations at all because you dropped $120,000 on home repairs and that sucks up $1200 per month on top of your mortgage every month for the last 5 years and you still have a $50k second mortgage to pay off for the NEXT 4 years before you can really get to Europe.

    yeah, those people volunteering and looking for the right spouses, they're horrible aren't they, for wanting to visit Europe.

  • groggette

    Who said they were horrible for having/wanting money?

    Amanda honey, I'm parched and blond, you mind passing me a cup?

  • Mrs. D

    Dude, Northwesterner, it's not like the choice is marry an heiress or never see Europe. How about get a job that includes travel and save up your miles, don't have kids/have fewer kids, buy a smaller home that costs less to begin with and just doesn't have as much to repair, and not take out mortgages and other debt for stupid reasons (does your hypothetical middle-aged guy have an expensive, flashy car by chance)?

    I also enjoy your implication that only rich people and their worshipers do charity work. Isn't serving up meals at a soup kitchen the un-wealthy person's version of the big check?

    I'm plenty happy, and, with hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles and a mastery of trip advisor and google, I could very easily jet off first class to Europe for a week. While you may be convinced that only obscene amounts of money adequate to allow wasting away every moment of your day can make you happy, please don't project your desires on others you don't even know.

  • Maura

    Woah, why all the hating on Single Volunteers of DC???

    @Em and @Brennan, first of all, SVDC is hardly all "rich" volunteers. If you've got tons of money to spend, there are lots of ways to meet single people at events in DC. But if you don't have money to blow at a fundraiser or in a bar or club, and you don't have a built-in big social network at work, DC ain't exactly an easy town to meet single people who are interested in a relationship.

    If you want to do some good and want a venue to meet other single do-gooders, why not combine the two common interests?

    I'm a big fan of Martha's Table; I raised money for them when I was a teacher. But the sneer that you can "really" help through Martha's Table and implication that SVDC volunteers don't *really* help anyone is off-base.

    I used to work for a small non-profit that was always looking for reliable people to do boring, thankless work like stuff mailings every couple of weeks. For groups like that, an organization like SVDC is a godsend -- providing a regular, reliable source of eager and willing helpers who eager to be helpful while being social. SVDC volunteers do things like provide womanpower and manpower for park cleanups, garden planting and weeding, food pantry donation sorting, staffing tables at fundraising events...boring, unglamorous scut-work that ultimately helps a good cause. Stacking cans and stuffing envelopes is tedious and boring alone, but can be fun with a group. What's wrong with creating opportunities for that?

    As for the requirements that SVDC volunteers actually be single...again, what's wrong with that? An individual can always volunteer with a non-profit organization on his or her own. The point of SVDC is that you get to sign up to participate in events with other single people. And if you're married or in an otherwise committed relationship you're, duh, not single.

    About 10 years ago, I was out of a long-term relationship and looking to date again. I worked 50-60 hours a week, and there was not even one single man in my workplace. My close friends were all paired. Online dating got old quickly, all those email exchanges, all those blind dates where the agenda is 100% "Do I like this person and want to see him/her again?" Getting to do something alongside a person is a much better way to figure out whether they're interesting or compatible, IMO, than reading a profile online. I heard of SVDC from some friends who met through it, and signed up for a few volunteer events.

    Through SVDC, I spent one Friday night helping a local animal shelter wrangle dogs and cats for an adoption event at a PetSmart. I spent a Saturday morning planting flowers outside a senior center. On both occasions, I had a genuinely good time doing the activity itself, and my few hours of womanpower were helpful to the organization. I met some cool people of both genders, met a half dozen single available guys at each one, and exchanged email addresses with one attractive guy who walked dogs with me. It didn't lead to a great romance, but so what? It was a much better investment of my time than a few hours on

  • AJ

    Whether you like the tactics used by Ms. Reece to encourage young professionals to volunteer in their communities is irrelevant. What's important is that there are causes in need of volunteers and sponsors. and Laura are merely helping to get the word out.

    Amanda and fellow commenters-you should be praising successful individuals for wanting to help their community instead of showing them hostility.

  • Anya D Night

    AJ, yeah! Who cares if there's a little sexism and classicism involved in helping the lower classes? IT IS ALWAYS GOOD AND SHOULD NEVER BE CRITICIZED. Not. Even. A LITTLE.

    Geez, Amanda and fellow commenters- what do you want? People to stop volunteering and meeting hotties!?!? It is called multitasking!!!

  • Northwesterner

    Mrs D, I have a hard time understanding your way of thinking. You completely changed your lifestyle to get what you want when the rich don't have to change anything. are you arguing in favor or against what I posted?