Thursday, December 08, 2005

Americans are generous

I have an idea, but logistically it is a little complicated, so feel free to share any comments.

I believe that most Americans want to help. They want to help their neighbors in need; they want to help the poor, the needy, the uneducated.
They want to help people in other countries, and they want to help close to home, too.

But, we also distrust some of the charitable organizations and their ability to actually help the people in need. Churches often seem to be more worried about passing the collection plate so that they can continue current operations or build a bigger prettier sanctuary than worrying about helping those in need. The UN tries to help countries all over the planet but that help often doesn’t get to the people in need. Zimbabwe is a good example: the aid that goes in is most certainly going to be stolen by “President” Mugabe and divvied out to his thugs and confidants while the rest of the country starves. Currently almost half of the population is facing starvation, in a country that should be capable of feeding itself, (and exporting excess maize).

So my solution? I don’t have one, yet. If we could find a way to identify specific families and individuals in need, I think we (collectively) would be more likely to help out on a global scale. Think about Katrina-- What would you rather do---send the Red Cross $1000 bucks, or find a family in Louisiana and buy their groceries, buy them clothes and shoes, and diapers and directly help them. In other words, I would love to give a certain amount a month directly to people who are truly in need. Send them food, clothing, cash, diapers, etc…but I haven’t figured out a way to find the family, and deliver the goods. I suppose there is nothing keeping me from picking up the phone and calling a church in Zimbabwe, or Angola, or Missouri and asking what I can do. It would be a start.

Related musical lyric:

Look at me in my fancy carAnd my bank account
Oh, how I wish I could take it all down
Into my grave, I'd save and save
Take a look again, take a look again,
Take a look again at things you have collected
In the end it all piles up so tall
To one big nothing, one big nothing at all…

Late at night with TV's hungry childHis belly swells

Oh, for a price of a coke or a smoke
I could keep alive those hungry eyes
Take a look again, take a look again
Every day things change, but basically they stay the same
Forget about the reasons and
The treasons we are seeking
Forget about the notion that our emotions can be
Swept away, kept at bay
Forget about being guilty, we are innocent instead
For soon we will all find our lives swept away


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