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From: Lori C.
Delegate Area 32; Panel 6
I was on a Zoom meeting today with Mark E., our East Central Regional Trustee as we are currently having many meetings concerning the virtual General Service Conference and other items of concern for the GSO during this time of COVID-19.
He stated today that the Trustees and General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous had an emergency meeting on Thursday evening and among other items of concern, the approved the transfer from our Prudent Reserve to the General Bank Account for immediately payment of our bills.
Just as our groups are facing a downturn in our 7th Traditions, so is the GSO and it is dire emergency for the GSO. They have many overhead expenses ie: rent, heat, telephone etc just as we do at our home groups. However, they also have the added expenses of insurance payments, paying insurance adjusters and negotiators (this is due to the cancellation of the International Convention in particular) attorneys and most importantly PAYMENT OF WAGES to the entire staff at the GSO. As many of you are aware, the staff of the office all reside in New York City and so they desperately need to continue to get paid for their service to AA without a delay in the wages due to them. The GSO does not have the discretion of “waiting until normality returns” to pay these workers.
As with anything within our service organization, all monies to perform necessary duties comes from the 7th Tradition donations as well as literature sales. Both have slowed so much since the COVID-19 outbreak that the General Service Board and our Trustee’s felt that they had no other option but to take emergency funds from our Prudent Reserve to take care of monies owed NOW.
AA typically keeps around 9 months of funding available in its Prudent Reserve set aside for just these types of situations such as an extreme lowering of 7th Tradition Donations and a basic lack of literature sales. The Grapevine has also made a lot of free stories and use of the archives for our members during this time, so they too are low on funds and while this does not necessarily effect the General Service Office (they are two separate corporations, AAWS and Grapevine) it does effect the over all financial health of our “life saving/sustaining organization”.
I do not need to spell out what would happen if AA as a whole went broke. I do not need to share with all of you how badly this would effect our entire program and I hate to think that without our overall GSO how we would all recover. So what I am asking from you is twofold
A: Personally make a donation to the General Service Office. You can use the birthday plan of $1 given for every year of sobriety (normally given on your AA anniversary but now is okay too) or make any type of monetary donation to the GSO as you see fit. This could be in lieu of donating to your home group (only if they are doing okay) or what you would put in the basket if it were being passed. Be creative, be giving. Encourage home groups, Districts, Intergroups, Central Offices to continue with their 7th Tradition giving or a possibility of increasing normal donations in light of the issue at had.
B: Encourage your home group, District, Intergroup, Central Office, Area (hint Area 32) to continue to purchase literature for sale or for use just as if you were still meeting in an actual group building. Encourage literature sales to your home group members. Have someone in charge of selling it to members just as if we were all meeting face to face. Purchase a couple of Big Books for yourself or more to give away to the influx of newcomers that are sure to come through our doors once we are out of quarantine. Purchase your literature directly from AA instead of an outside entity such as Amazon and the like. Get books that you thought may be interesting to read but you didn’t have the time to read them, purchase them and read them (Many of our books are exciting to read even if you are not a service junkie-history of AA is really cool and besides you will look smart when we go back to face to face meetings)
Okay, you get the picture of what I am asking and sharing with you. I hope and pray that you get the importance of sharing this financial picture with you. Please share with others as often as you can and with as many people as you can.
AA needs us now more than ever and it is my hope that you all will see just how dire the situation is currently and how it is truly not known how long before things to “return to normal” if ever.
In Love and Service
Delegate Area 32; Panel 67
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