Published Dec 28, 2017The Australian branch of the Salvation Army is backpedalling after Paul McCartney concert tickets donated for the homeless were instead given to the charity leader's daughter.
A Beatles super-fan named Chris McDonald donated seven tickets to Macca's sold-out show at AAMI Park in Melbourne, with the intention that the tickets should be given by the Salvation Army to homeless people.
However, two of the homeless recipients returned their tickets shortly before the show, and according to a Salvation Army spokesperson, they couldn't find any homeless clients or volunteer workers to take them. In the end, the two tickets went to the daughter of Salvation Army leader Major Brendan Nottle — something that has deeply rattled 53-year-old donor McDonald.
At the concert, McDonald noticed that two of the seats he bought were occupied by a well-dressed couple. After some Facebook sleuthing, he figured out who they were.
He told Victoria newspaper The Age he was upset that no one had contacted him about what had happened with the tickets. He said, "Obviously, this was not the spirit of my donation and I feel very upset by this. My donation has been abused, and I think they need to be held accountable for that."
After spending much of his youth battling addiction, McDonald apparently spent most of his life savings by dropping $2,350 AUD (about $2,305 CAD) for the tickets.
"I'm not a wealthy man myself," he said. "But I wanted to give people something unusual beyond what they would have disposable income for themselves. To give something to people who need a lift and to remind them they're included in the wonderful things of the world."
Major Nottle admitted that the situation was a mistake, but added that concert tickets aren't an appropriate form of charitable donation.
"When you're working with homeless people — to be blunt, do homeless people need tickets to Paul McCartney or do they need a roof over their house?" he said. "Do they need assistance with mental health issues or trauma or do they need food in their belly? I think the answer's pretty obvious."
McDonald, however, said of the Salvation Army, "They do an awful lot of good for people and for the homeless. I have been a recipient of their relief so I know how important the work they do is, but the golden rule is never to dip your hand into the donations, it calls the integrity of the entire organization into dispute."
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