Members purchasing Gift Cards to local grocery stores and the Bishop giving them out

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nathangg
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Members purchasing Gift Cards to local grocery stores and the Bishop giving them out

Postby nathangg » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:55 pm

I just read the "Christmas Fund" thread and a question came up in my head:

Is it okay to have ward members purchase Gift Cards to local grocery stores, give those to the Bishop, and then the Bishop gives those (privately) to a few families in the ward?

This is something that our ward did last year and as far as MLS goes, there was no paper trail or documentation or anything going in or out of any "Other" accounts, "Budget" accounts, or "Fast Offering" accounts.

However, just because it doesn't go through MLS doesn't mean there aren't some guidelines around this sort of thing.

I looked over Handbook 1 Chapter 14 ("Finances"), but I can't find anything about this. Is there another place in the Handbooks I should be looking?

Thanks~!

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:02 pm

I don't see anything wrong with that practice, and I'm quite sure there is no published policy about it. The money is not going through any Church accounts. The bishop is simply facilitating an anonymous gift from a person to a person.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:24 pm

I would concur with aebrown. In this specific case, because no funds are actually passing through MLS and church funds are not being used, there is no requirement for receipts, expense authorization forms or bishop signatures. As I stated in the thread referenced, the members are simply using the bishop's knowledge of ward member's needs to facilitate distributing their gift to those who need it most.

kylehart
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Postby kylehart » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:18 pm

Just one counter point:

With no audit trail, it opens the Bishop up to potential false accuasations. Granted, no more so than if somebody donated physical goods (like a turkey) for the Bishop to anonymous give out (ok, turkeys are a bit larger than gift cards).

Why do we require two people (a Bishopric member being at least one of them) to open donation envelopes? Part of this is for the protection of the brethern involved. Why would this not be necessary with "off the books" cash-like gifts?

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:26 pm

Not going to argue your point, but why can't two members of the bishopric drop off the card?

nrajeff
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Postby nrajeff » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:17 am

I think such charitable gifts are a noble gesture, and hopefully the donors don't mind the fact that with no paper trail, it will be hard to take the tax deduction for such donations.


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