The Ortho Molecular Answer

Oil Claims Another Victim

Record oil prices have been putting a real strain on most households, and the overall economy. Few people, businesses, or organizations have been untouched.

Part of my job as the Penny Stock Professional is to look for those bargain basement investments that are unfairly caught in the oil-induced economic weakness. I'm looking for penny stocks that are well run, have low debt loads, and tons of upside potential. Of these I try to find the ones that are trading at unfairly low prices, to profile the at

I was going through all the possible ways in which high fuel costs, coupled with terrible consumer confidence, would create tough times for penny stock shares, and thus potential bargains.

It was then that I realized some of the biggest victims of this current environment. They aren't publicly traded penny stocks, nor are they an investment opportunity in any way. In fact, I now had officially veered off course, leaving my work until later, while I delved through my impromptu side-project.

Charitable organizations are the forgotten victims in the days of record oil and plummeting consumer confidence. When everyone is worried about losing their job or house, and they see money flying out the window as they fill up their cars, the idea of helping others can sometimes slip.

I was interested in what effect the current state of affairs was having on charities, so I had my executive assistant make a few calls.

She spoke to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, which is a charity near and dear to me ever since I was diagnosed with MS.

Rosanne Portelance, the administrative coordinator, explains that they use a lot of Budget rental trucks and Brinks to pick up donations from events such as the MS Walk, and their Carnation Campaigns. She explains that they have seen a decline in those donations.

As well, they have seen a drop in participation in the MS Walk, which they believe is because of the price of gas. There was also a reduction in participation for their Carnation Campaign and the MS Read-A-Thon.

At the same time, however, there were increases in online donations. People still seem to find a way to donate, but are much less likely to drive anywhere to do it.

If you want to help relieve some of the pain the MS Society is feeling, please consider making a donation.

We also spoke with Michelle Beveridge, Director of Finance and Administration, of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She did mention that they expected donations to fall off after 9/11, as well as after the recent tsunami, but fortunately in both cases charitable revenues remained strong.

I hope that donations remain strong this time as well, although there are some marked differences. Unlike 9/11 and the tsunami, this current economic environment is not a 'sudden' one-off event. Rather, it has been a long, ongoing process of bleeding peoples' pockets, with no end in sight. How will that play out when it comes time to write the checks?

You can make a donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association here.

The one organization that may even be getting hit harder than the others is Meals-On-Wheels. This non-profit delivers meals to seniors, new mothers, and disabled individuals. In some cases, volunteer drivers are paid a flat fee for delivering meals, while others pay per kilometer.

In light of the recent fuel price appreciation, some Meals-On-Wheels chapters have increased the gas allowances, while others cannot afford to do so.

In some cases, volunteer drivers are reimbursed for gas every 3 months, but because they are seniors and live on fixed incomes do not have enough money to pay for gas upfront. Currently there is a shortage of volunteers, and this may get worse.

My assistant also found a good article about the high price of volunteerism in this current economy, which you can read here.

Please consider doing what you can to donate to Meals-On-Wheels, despite the tough economic times.

We all might be feeling like times are a little tougher right now. Just remember:

Helping someone when you are strong is kindness.

Helping someone when you are weak is courage.