Yes, contest fans. You too can win a free trip to New York City, and a dinner with the President, the first lady, a snotty British editoress from Vogue magazine (what, no good American gay fashion editor to tell us what to wear?) and someone named Sarah Jessica Parker (who is so thin it looks like she needs a good meal).

Video link here.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, invites you to a New York Night with President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Sarah Jessica Parker on June 14th. Don’t miss your chance to join them—your airfare and hotel are covered. Get started at https://my.barackobama.com/NewYorkNight

Purchase/contribution  is not necessary to enter and will not improve your chances. Void where prohibited. Deadline for entries: 6/4/12. Approx. prize value: $1,900.
Odds depend on number of entries received. Promotion open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, 18 yrs. or older.

Yes, just you and the president, and 100 other people in an intimate dinner.

The bad news? When you go to the link to enter the contest, it says you have to donate.

Get on the guest list

A grassroots supporter and their guest will be joining President Obama and the First Lady at Sarah Jessica Parker’s home in New York City, with airfare and accommodations provided by the campaign.

Donate today and you’ll be automatically entered.

To “enter” the sweepstakes, you have to give them your name, address, phone number, email address, and they ask you to give money by giving them your credit card number (although they claim you don’t have to donate).

there is an alternate page to enter if you want to go, but you have to read the rules to find it:

a) Free Online Entry Method: To enter via the free online entry method, visit https://my.barackobama.com/page/s/night-in-new-york-alt.

So it’s a cheap scam to get your personal information. If the trip is worth 1900 dollars, and 50 folks win, that means they will get the personal information for thousands of people  and it will cost them $95,000.

Wonder who is paying for all of this?

If you enter, you will probably get lots of emails and computer driven telephone calls for your trouble.But never mind: by entering you will be part of the president’s reelection campaign, and if you win you can probably save the life of Sarah Jessica Parker by making her eat her veggies and protein so she doesn’t die of marasmus.

One small problem: although they say any US citizen or resident of the US is eligible, they only cover air fare from the US, thereby eliminating most of the military who are serving overseas, not to mention those of us residing overseas. Which is probably why I didn’t get a notice in my email from Democrats Abroad for this promotion.

Oh, by the way: They pay for your airfare and hotel but not your meals. Bummer. Meals in Manhattan are a bit more expensive than eating BBQ at Bad Brad’s in Pawhuska, so better bring your credit card with you.

So what if you can’t afford $50 for the meals at your posh hotel? Well, you can always try eating at the local soup kitchen. Google map of Manhattan soup kitchens:

So while you and your posh friends are dining with the president, maybe give some thought and money (and time, if you stay long enough) to the New York Coalition against Hunger,who have been assisting the hungry since 1983.

Sadly, the need for the New York City Coalition Against Hunger is greater than ever, with the city facing an increasing crisis of poverty and hunger…
In the Coalition’s latest annual survey of hunger in New York City – the most comprehensive of its kind – New York City’s emergency food providers (food pantries, soup kitchens, and brown bag programs) reported a 20.8 percent increase in need for their services, with the fastest growth in demand from families with children.

and yes, I know that the leader of this organization is an Obama partisan, (note to food bank: partisan attacks mean that you get fewer donations from the opposition party members). But never mind: Politics is not more important than feeding the poor, and although the SNAP program was started under FDR and Kennedy, it was expanded under the Nixon administration, and later was made stricter by the Clinton welfare reform program….

SNAP provides food stamps for those with limited incomes, but often at the end of the month families need food. For most folks, it means they borrow food or money from their family, or their neighbors, but often it means a trip to the food bank. Soup kitchens in areas with high unemployment also help with those homeless or who fell through the cracks of the system. And most of these programs are run by volunteers, often churches, with some help from government programs.

I know this as a doctor, because many of my patients got “end of the month” food help from our local food bank, my bilingual son helped run a food bank when he was in the Americorps, and my grandchildren frequently donate their garden food and donate their time to serve in their local soup kitchen.

So the next time you get a phone call asking for $2500 donation from either political party, why not say no and donate it to folks who really need it?

You can find the phone number of your local food bank or soup kitchen on line or in the phone book, or just ask your pastor, since many churches coordinate volunteers for these projects.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She is a Democrat.

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