Earlier this evening I received the following email:
I appreciated your coverage of the bombings, and wondered what I could do. On 9/11 I could give money to the Red Cross, but i don’t think that is necessary there. Honestly speaking, right now I would like to do something for the folks in London, and not a charity in Africa, or somewhere else.
What I would most like to do is buy a pint of beer or two for someone in London, but that is easier said than done. Thinking about it, I realized that if i had come across a banner that allowed me to do something like that with paypal or credit card, I would have done so in a heartbeat.
So, I am proposing that you or someone you know in London set up a temporary charity blog that accepts international donations through paypal. Then it disburses the funds collected by randomly choosing London pubs and paying for a pint or two for everyone already inside.
I don’t know what bureaucracy might be involved, or exactly how it would work, but I do know that a lot of folks around the world would probably be happy to donate in the next week or so.
I would be happy to donate the first 50 pounds (or is that quid?) (just don’t tell my wife), and would be happy to e-mail journalists and bloggers here in the US about this, too.
Anyway, that is what I would like to do. If you or anyone you know can set it up, I will gladly buy some beer for you guys.
I responded thusly:
The only thing I can suggest – and this will sound INCREDIBLY dodgy – is that I’ve got a paypal link on the blog (currently standing at a grand total of Â£0.00). I could make a guarantee that I’ll pass anything donated on. I know a couple of people in the Metropolitan Police, a few doctors working in London hospitals – it’d seem logical to buy those guys and the paramedics some beers, and the people I know may be able to point me in the right direction.
It will, of course, look incredibly dodgy – and I doubt many people would be too happy passing money to some anonymous blogger on the other side of the world on trust alone. You’d only have my word, after all – and I wouldn’t trust some random guy off the internet…
My correspondent has just sent fifty quid via PayPal. I’m amazed – and touched. And I guarantee that I will do everything I can to make sure this gets to the people who deserve it. Beers for the boys in blue.
If anyone else wants to donate, all money will (somehow) be shifted to people who have been directly involved in yesterday’s fucked-up events. Just use the PayPal link in the left-hand column.
On behalf of London – cheers.
Update 2: There is now an official fund set up by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.
I’d trust him (slightly) more than I’d trust me, so if you don’t fancy trusting some random anonymous blogger with your cash:
donate online at www.redcross.org.uk/londonrelief
or by telephone: 08705 125125
or you can post your donation to:
LBRF c/o Mayor of London, FREEPOST LON18968, Sheffield S98 1ZA.
Update 3: Someone’s started a T-shirt fundraiser if you want yet another alternative.
Update, 15th July: I’m still working on this. Have just had a phone call from the BBC – they want to film any piss-up as and when it happens, so I’ll let you know. I’m hoping for next weekend, assuming I can arrange everything.