A Habit of Giving

Shelley Powers: “we need to establish a habit of giving”:

…No one is to ‘blame’ for being in the way of catastrophe, and as we know, any one of us could be the next victim. There are no safe spots where nothing is likely to happen; no places of invulnerability. To help others is to help ourselves; the days of geographical isolation are at an end and we have a responsibility to each other regardless of country, race, or religion.

But if we react to each event in a frenzy, soon we’ll burn out and truly catastrophic events will go by with barely a blink. We’re seeing this with Pakistan: it’s not that people aren’t caring; it’s that we’ve just been through one cycle of frantic giving following another a short 8 months ago. It may get to a point where a country would gain help for having an ‘early’ disaster, as compared to a country having a disaster later in the year. Perhaps these countries could stage their catastrophes close to Christmas.

Rather than react impulsively (and stop reacting just as impulsively), we need to establish a habit of giving that will hopefully provide enough support for organizations that meet the needs of people in stricken communities. We should budget in a monthly donation, even if it’s only a few dollars, and contribute consistently: both to international relief organizations and those that are domestic. We should also look at organizations that help in the longterm: with education, family planning, support of basic human rights, and other means to improve overall quality of life.

We should also learn to apply filters when listening to much of the news. Stories from New Orleans match stories from Pakistan where the number of dead leaps by tens of thousands by the minute, and people searching for food in stores become tales of rampant crime and looting. The news emphasizes the worst in all matters, and it’s easy to either develop a sense of despair or disappointment. What’s important is getting help to people, and providing what support we can-facts will fall out later.

She goes on to describe what charities she plans to support international and national, immediate need and long-term. She suggests all of us putting a a ‘giving ribbon bar’ in our sidebars for permenent display. It’s a great idea. Check out Albert‘s. I’ll have a related follow-up tomorrow.

One thought on “A Habit of Giving

  1. I don’t think we should be making a habit of giving to the well-to-do that are building on the hurricane prone beachfronts or mudslide prone hillsides. I think they qualify as knowing that disaster is a matter or when, not if.

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