22 June

Update. We Have Enough Money For Two Tablets For The New Mansion Media Center, We Need $200 More

by Jon Katz

We have enough money for two tablets, we hope to buy two more.

Life for the Army of Good is different after the never-ending pandemic, inflation, supply issues, the Ukraine War, widespread heat,  drought, and fire.

We are challenged to adapt. We will. Our survival is not at stake, but I will adjust to the new realities. I will never quit on this good work, and I know most of you won’t either.

The idea is to contribute when you can, and when contributing does not hurt you, your security, or your family. Things will move more slowly.

Thanks for your donations, I understand they will be smaller, but they are also numerous.

I’m asking for less, searching for the best prices, and realizing that our fundraising may take more time than it used to. None of us, including me, are exempt from the realities of life.

We will and should adapt, and I hope no one feels any guilt or anxiety about not being able to do what they could do before. We will get what we need to get done; it will just take a little more time.

Yesterday I asked for support in raising enough money to buy four computer tablets for the new Manson Activities Center, scheduled to be re-opened in the next few days.

We raised more than $300 so far (online, no mail  yet), enough for two tablets (with four-year warranty and tech support.) My goal is to get two more, and I have no doubt we will get there.

I’ll need a little more than $500. Any overage will go to the Mansion Fund, but that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.

I can’t be as aggressive as before because the Mansion Fund is low these days and will stay that way for a while. I need to keep something there for sneakers, pants, pajamas, underwear, and toiletries.

These are more challenging times, and we will always be honest and flexible. So I’m still asking for more money to get the other two tablets, which are very reasonably priced at $104 apiece plus warranty and support.

These tablets are something the residents have repeatedly asked for, and the aides have supported getting them; they will give people the chance to create and communicate and play games independently and without having to join a scheduled group.

They will also be able to talk to their families and grandchildren over Zoom or via texting and e-mail. We will arrange for tech support and supervision to get things rolling.

So I’ll keep at it until we get it, which I think will be soon.

You can donate via Paypal, [email protected] and Venmo, [email protected], or via the mail, Jon Katz, Mansion Fund, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Small donations are as welcome as big ones. Thanks.

Nobody said this would be simple or easy forever, but it is well worth doing for me. And it is more vital than ever. Our notion remains what it always was: small acts of great kindness.

Stay tuned. This summer, we are planning an Arts and Crafts Amazon wishes list for Sue Silverstein as she brings her extraordinary vision of art and education to a new school, Bishop Gibbons.



  1. If you search your blog for “mansion” and “tablets,” you’ll see that you’ve raised money for tablets for the mansion many times, using almost exactly the same language. What happened to those tablets? This is really starting to seem like a scam. Nobody needs to raise money for the same electronic products every eight months.

    1. Not many times, Wilson, very few. And for good reason. They make a huge difference. Several were broken, two left in death, and one disappeared. It is very difficult to get tech support at the Mansion. One of the last ones froze and we could not fix it. We may need more tablets again, they don’t last a lifetime and neither do the residents.

      Most of the Ipad fundraising that I see on the search engine is for the Bishop Maginn students and for helping them through the pandemic. Bishop Maginn High School and the Mansion are two different institutions.

      Life at the Mansion is not simple or steady, people come and go, get sick and die, and struggle with technology and memory issues, and other health problems. This is a new program and we’re not using Ipads or other brands, they are too expensive and complex for some of the residents to use. These are simple and inexpensive.

      These tablets are going to a new program and will be secured in the activities room and kept in one place. They are simple and easy to use, just right for the lab. The one or two people who still have their pads and use them will not be asked to give them away. Every resident doesn’t need the same thing. It isn’t a one-time- fix for life.

      I don’t care for your tone or your suggestion that we are careless. We are not. I used the same language because it is the right language and we are very careful about what we ask for and buy. You have every right to ask where the money goes, but I find your insinuation – that we are wasteful or worse – offensive.

      These will be put to good use, and they will last as long as they last. No guarantees. I might need to ask again, and if so, I will. I don’t recall ever seeing your name before, but if you have donated and would like a refund, I’ll gladly give it to you. If you are uncomfortable, you should absolutely not contribute. Scams are dishonest and illegal. Every purchase I make is documented, photographed and accounted for, as well as reviewed by certified accountants.

  2. Jon. you raised money for tablets a year ago for the Mansion residents. What happened to those tablets? Did they lose or break them? I don’t want to give money if they’re that careless. Tablets last longer than a year!

    1. Yes, Ben, tablets last longer than a year but many elderly residents don’t. Some go to nursing homes and take their tablets with them, some can’t use them or break them, sometimes they end up with families if there is a death, many did lose or break them or pass away; a few disappeared and may have been stolen. You should not give any money if you are suspicious or uncomfortable. Please tell me where you see that I asked for Ipads for the Mansion a year ago. I see requests for Bishop Maginn High School, a different cause, on my search engine. Am I missing something?

      We’ve been doing this work together – we call ourselves The Army Of Good – for five or six years and have purchased thousands of items, through donations and via Amazon wish lists, for refugees and the elderly. I am very proud of this work, and things like tablets are not one-time things that last for life, not for people living on the edge of life, getting sick, transferred, dying, or losing memory. Nothing is static there, and many things must be tried and replaced repeatedly.

      Yes, more pads and tablets are needed because the residents are constantly changing, so I found pills for $104. All purchases are documented and reviewed by my accountants in New York.

      We got some for the Bishop Maginn refugee students because they were shut out of school during the lockdowns. Those have nothing to do with the Mansion.

      We are doing it differently, getting four simple ones and keeping them in the activities office for the residents to use individually. As always, every purchase is photographed and documented, and there are no secrets here; I’m sorry for your suspicions; they are painful.

      1. Yes, Jon–you’re missing something. I’m sorry that you’re not able to search your own posts. Here’s the link, from almost exactly a year ago (June 28, 2021): https://www.bedlamfarm.com/2021/06/28/launching-the-mansion-tablet-campaign-five-tablets-great-freedom/

        You raised 900 to purchase five tablets. You identified five residents who would benefit from a tablet, promised that there wouldn’t be many more, and asked for $900. Now you’re doing essentially the same thing a year later.

        1. Thanks, Ben, for the link; I didn’t see it.

          No, we’re not doing the same thing. We are raising money for four tablets that cost $104 a piece for a new media center in a revamped activities center. The tablets you mention are for individual residents who may or not still have them. It’s not my job to keep track of each one; that is neither possible nor permissible.

          The new media center is being opened this week, and this was my proposal to help; it has nothing to do with past donations, tablets, or gifts to the residents. The director said she loved the idea, and I agreed to raise money for it; it is, she said, just what she is trying to do.

          It is just not any more complicated than that. I’m not a police officer or investigator, some of the early recipients are no longer with us, and some didn’t use the machines; I’m told that some still are.

          I just reread the piece. I would encourage everyone to read it. Nowhere did I promise there wouldn’t be any more requests; sadly, some of the names I mentioned are no longer at the Mansion or no longer alive. One has moved away; one has gone to another facility.

          How could I promise that, and why would I? I don’t tell the Mansion what to want, they tell me what they need, and I promise to try to get what they need when they ask. Their jobs are very difficult.

          I totally reject your strange suggestion that there is something wrong with buying more of these tablets for different residents who need and want them and can use them to benefit. I hope to do it again and again.

          I think this is bizarre, and now that we’ve had our exchange I’ll move on.

          I like the piece you linked to, the idea, and the gifts of the tablets; I’m proud of it; the tablets are on their way to the Mansion right now and I’m excited to follow this experiment and be a part it. It made good sense to me then and makes good sense to me now. This is a different time, with an additional activity director, a separate initiative, and other residents.

          I’m happy to support it. I see the price of the tablets is down by $48 each.

          I’m sorry you disagree, but that’s your business; I can’t help it.

          This work is not done, there will always be more need, and I hope to be able to help fill it. If you don’t like it, don’t join in, that’s your right.

  3. WTF?
    If you disagree with the need keep it to yourself & move on. What Jon is doing is absolutely honorable & genuine.
    I can’t begin to imagine the loneliness these people experience. Those tablets may be their only link to the outside world.
    God bless them and Jon & Maria.

    1. Thanks, Steve, I appreciate your comments and was touched by them. Ignorance and cruelty and anger are now parts of our everyday lives and governance. The challenge is to never be deterred, discouraged or derailed by it, and you have my word that won’t happen to me. It just makes me want to do more.

  4. I can’t believe the negative comments about the need for more Mansion tablets.
    For those folks:
    Maybe your tablets live forever. Maybe your lives rarely change. Maybe you or no one yoknow have ever had to move into a “mansion”. Fotunate them!!
    But watch-out!! Life brings many surprises.
    It’s good to be alert. We do live in ‘Scam Time.’ But . . .
    Jon is NOT a SCAM artist. He is a caring careful giver of his time and energy and contributors money.
    We choose to give or not to give.
    He writes and blogs. We read and think.

    1. JoyDawn, thanks for your comments. I can promise you these people will never deter me from the good work we are doing. Their cruelty, cynicism, and ignorance are signs of the times, and I know I just have to live with it and confront it directly. I am getting used to being called a thief, a sexist, a scammer, and a bigger. It happens almost daily. I am so proud of what we have done over this five or six years, this will never work to discourage me.

      Mostly, what these people reveal, for all their “investigations” and searches, is a total ignorance of how the elderly live and die and struggle. They know nothing about me or them. I see them in the same way I see mosquitoes, they are just part of what we deal with in the world. Thanks for your support, we are just getting started. The residents are VERY excited about the new media center and I am very happy we could make it work. Some people will never understand this, I accept this as part of life.

  5. It makes me mad and upset when people accuse you of doing wrong. I am glad you have tough skin! I hope that if I ever end up in special care there is a Jon and Marie to assist me in the things needed to make my life better!

    1. Thanks Christine, I hear from many good people like you, it isn’t all bad. I accept it as a part of what I do, I have it easier than the election workers did. Thanks for the very kind words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Email SignupFree Email Signup