Traditional charities are in a cash-flow crunch as Sept. 11 relief siphons off funds. Maybe they should get naked.

“Will strip for cash” used to be an unemployed stripper’s classified ad, but now it’s a charity come-on. It’s a bare-knuckle – not to mention bare-bottom – competition out there. If organizations want to compete, it’s time to take it all off.

New calendars are out, and some groups are making big bucks being buck-naked in what is presumably a flameout fad.

I’m not talking time-honored cheesecake/beefcake calendars with Buffed Bob and Silicone Sally. There are no Sports Illustrated models here. I’m talking neighbors – yours and mine – and they ain’t wearin’ clothes.

This is serious stuff, these calendars. Butchers, bakers, grannies and gumshoes appear in the raw for worthy, and sometimes not so worthy, causes.

I bet many of them would do it just for grins … because that’s all most are wearing.

Money from coast to coast is pouring in to the Vail Valley (Colorado) Charitable Trust. Skiers, chefs, doctors, firefighters and nurses joined other nude residents in “2002 Vail Undressed.”

What in heaven’s name does God think of His two-footed creatures peeling and posing for favorite charities? Who knows? But He must have a sense of humor: He made us in every shape, size and color. We’re saggy, baggy, pimpled and dimpled – from what I’ve seen.

“I’ll do just about anything … to save this island,” said Mallory Pred. She stripped with 32 other women, aged 18-74, from British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island last year. They shed their duds outdoors in their “Preserve and Protect” environmental calendar to fight industrial logging.

“No one takes a blind bit of notice to what I say as a Ph.D.,” says calendar girl Briony Penn, “But everybody listens when I take my clothes off.” She later rode Lady Godiva-style on a horse through the streets of Vancouver. Her calendar compatriots walked alongside – topless.

Gee, my husband is environmentally minded. He and his Trout Unlimited cronies have wasted their altruistic energy working the annual beg-a-thon auctions. All they had to do was show up starkers carrying a strategically placed creel or two.

These buck-naked benefits started in what I thought to be prim and proper Great Britain. Is there something in the water? One group after another rings up photographers to shoot them au naturel.

“The Ladies of Rylstone” calendar exposed the first famous blushing exhibitionists in 1999. Eleven North Yorkshire women, between the ages of 46 and 66, from the upscale Women’s Institute, dumped their fund-raising calendar’s traditional pastoral scenes.

They selected a theme “with greater moneymaking potential.” The women, demurely obscured by pearls and teacups, raked in a whopping half-million dollars for cancer research.

“Beefy Butchers Show Prime Cuts for Charity” advertised an English meat cutter’s calendar. They are still trying to decide on a charitable excuse for baring their chops, cutlets and rumps.

Sixteen burly Brits from the Cambridge Rugby Union Football Club did the Full Monty (that’s nude, folks) on their calendar to benefit the Arthur Rank Hospice. My Calais, Vt., cousin produced “The Men of Maple Corner” with a few doing the “Full Vermonty.” They’ve sold 35,000 so far.

Some undressed antics are more pragmatic than philanthropic.

A group of Tasmanian grandmothers in Canberra, Australia, needed new curtains for their community center. The result: the “Bare to be Different” calendar. All peeled “except for a couple of ladies whose husbands wouldn’t let them,” 70-year-old Dot Kelly told Reuters.

Neighboring sheep shearers in Southeast Australia shed their clothes to raise money for the dilapidated One Tree Hill Pub. Mr. April 2002, Justin Campbell, had “to be very careful with his clippers” during the photo shoot.

If this calendar fad doesn’t fade fast, can we expect street-corner panhandlers in their birthday suits carrying signs saying, “Will dress for food?”

Come to think of it, our church has outgrown its building. “Bible Study Babes” at the mall calendar kiosk? Nah, I’ll skip the Garden of Eden garb.

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