Sunday, January 17, 2010

At Haiti ?? or At Home ??

With the recent earthquake and subsequent devestation in Haiti, and the outpouring of support from my fellow American citizens, as well as our government, my mind can't help but turn to those struggling in our own country.

It begs the question: if we have these resources to send out to help those abroad, then why aren't we already using these same resources to help those within our own borders?

With the economic downturn persisting, and there being no end in the near future (recovery will come, but it will take time), hunger is at terrifyingly high levels in the United States. Homelessness continues to persist and grow. Thousands of our own citizens can't afford adequate medical care.

I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that these resources were already there, already existed, to help our own neighbors, to help the family down the street, to help the homeless veteran at the shelter, the single mom at the food pantry... but we kept our hands in our pockets. We refused to give. We looked the other way. Until there was a tragedy in another country?!? Really?!?

I'm just struggling with this. I don't want to sound callous, or uncaring, or unsympathetic towards the people in Haiti (or any other country), but maybe we should consider taking care of those already in our borders, the people that desperately need help now, that don't require naval ships & military transports to get to them. People like you & me, who fell on hard times, and just need a little bit of help to get back on our feet.
Maybe before we all write that check (literally or metaphorically) to help someone in another country, maybe we should at the very least go ahead & write one for those in our own country first. Or at the same time.

Just a thought.


Cynthia said...

I've been wondering similar thoughts. Not in terms of 'we shouldn't be helping Haiti' but in terms of 'if we can mobilize AS A COUNTRY the way that we have for Haiti, why can't we do that homelessness, hunger, cancer research'. Just one big giving push to try and make a difference. Why does it take a natural disaster to motivate people to give?

What I've come to is this - we already give here at home. There are all sorts of organizations at federal, state and local levels that get grants based out of our taxes. If an individual wants to do more, then they can as an individual - but we already do a lot just by working and paying taxes - for MANY more causes than I would probably donate to as an individual. And there are big pushes of giving as well - there's the Race for the Cure drive, MS Telethons, Save the Strays, etc. I'm sure you can find a 5k to benefit just about anything. Just b/c there isn't a massive mobilization push going on doesn't mean the organizations don't have our attention. We're just being a litte more quiet and organized about it b/c it's an ongoing effort.

The rush that you see to benefit Haiti is b/c frankly - there is NO WAY that they can do it alone. The country has no resources to help themselves the way that we do - they are already an impoverished nation, so there is no federal money to bury the dead and feed the hungry. Our govt. already gives aid to Haiti just to help, but that aid wasn't designed to handle something this devastating. So there's a push for more to get them over the hump of burying the dead and feeding/sheltering those lost.

Meghan, Gary & Sophia H said...

You posted links in this post to groups that help those that are hungry, have AIDS & are homeless.

Find those same orginizations in Haiti & I'll give you a dollar.

The fact is there aren't any. Thats why we need to help them. it's what being a good American is all about. Putting aside your own needs & or wants to help your fellow man. Be that man live on your soil or accross a water way. It's who we are & who we will always be. Just like we received support from accross the pond when our soil was attacked on 9/11. We will support those that need us.

It's selfishness like this kind of post that give American's a bad name.

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