Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping Haiti Locally

If you are like me, your heart is going out to the people of Haiti and all of the earthquake victims. And you want to help, but it seems like nothing is getting to where it will help...yet.

This disaster reminds me of Katrina and New Orleans in so many tragic ways, and it brings home the sad and sobering fact that sometimes nothing can help the way it needs to. due to circumstances beyond anyone's control. And when that is combined with the usual graff and corruption inherent in so many of our modern charitable vessels, there is no room for success.

I was approached by a local group of people I know from a church I've been visiting, asking for donations to send them down there. They are allegianced with a good group of groups who do social work in the Third World. They can get down there and start helping out, so they needed people to finance that.

We donated. I remembered back during Katrina, so many times that a local solution would have done more good, and so maybe this will now. I know the people I am sponsoring, and I know there is absolutely no chance of my money being stolen or me getting scammed. I'm just grateful to know folks who want to put their own lives on hold at the drop of a hat and go help out. Helping hands -- physical hands -- are what they need most, that and some cases of rubbing alcohol, penicillin, basic cleansers and supplies, which my folks are going to take with them.

So, what I want to propose to you is to look within your community for people wanting to volunteer and help them do it. Call your local churches and ask their secretaries. Ask around. Word of mouth. Read the local paper. Call the local paper. Ask around. There is no organization that will handle this for you. It requires us to do it ourselves, but it will mean that those few volunteers who are now down there groping around without power or food or supplies will have some more helpers once the supply lines finally begin to flow.

Maybe nobody around you is doing this and that's fine. But try to find out. I'm glad I did.