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Disaster Benevolence

I saw a post on Facebook by someone who was commenting about how much we've done for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti yet we do so little for people in America who are homeless or otherwise struggling in similar conditions to Haiti only without the drama of an earthquake.  I've been giving a lot of thought to the statement of the post.  I think it's very admirable that there is such an outpouring of support for these people in their time of need.  I'm glad to see the military there saving lives, especially after so many years of war.  Sometimes I forget that they are so good at being mobile hospitals.  And I am not the type of person that feels that one individual deserves help and another doesn't due to the good fortune or misfortune of place of birth.  What I'm struggling with is why do we need a sudden, major catastrophe to determine that people need help.  New Orleans had horrible poverty for a long time before Katrina yet it was the hurricane that woke us up and made us cry out.  For me the message is clear, try to show benevolence on beautiful, sunny, peaceful might not be so nice a day for someone else.
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  1. I so agree, Lori! Sadly, I think it's human nature to rise up to a big wake up call, and then fall back asleep when the crisis is not as big. (And how one defines "big," I'll never know!)

    I have tried to remember that in the instances when someone I care about goes through a personal "crisis," such as a death in the family, illness, etc. There is a big rush to help and bring flowers and casseroles at the beginning... and then the pace falls off. Can you imagine what it would be like to have your spouse die, be flooded with a rush of sympathy, and then when everyone goes home... you are alone in your house with a bunch of wilting flowers and moldy food.

    Some folks from my church realized this and started a practice of visiting and cleaning up and really giving the person a lot of attention AFTER the "event," so that the transition would be easier. That was really eye-opening to me, what a great idea! I recently started a practice of purchasing two sympathy cards -- one for the immediate moment, and another one to send a month later, just to check in. Thankfully, I have only had to do this one time (it's a very new practice).

    So.... all this to say... you raise such an important point of us all staying away, even after the media has moved on to the next big story.

    Good stuff, Lori!

  2. That's a great idea Martha. It's so nice to show you care after the big event. I'm sure that means a lot to the recipient. I should get into that habit also.

  3. I love that idea too Martha! Thanks for sharing.
    Lori, I saw a similar post on FB; I kind of think that the people saying that aren't really doing anything to help solve problems here either, but that's just my opinionated, judgemental self talking. :-) Thanks for offering solutions for all, all the time.

  4. Yeah, I didn't really like the "shame on you America" part of the FB post, I think it's great that so many people are helping in Haiti, but I do understand that we should also help the people in need here too.


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