I just received an email from Nick about posting a link to promote all of the local events taking place to raise funds for Tsunami disaster relief. Holy cow are there ever a ton of them. Find the official listings here. There are also many bloggers who are trying to find a way to help – and kudos!
The amazing outpouring of generosity and the show of the human spirit at its very best has been overwhelmingly beautiful. And at the same time, I’ve found it phenomenally sad.
Every single person I know has donated something – whether it’s $1 or $100 or more to the Tsunami relief fund. But only a handful of people in my circle make it a habit to be so generous with their time, capital and spirit during the rest of their lives. I know I’ve been guilty of the same thing. I never donated to charities to help the homeless and destitute here at home until I had to walk through the Downtown East Side of Vancouver to get to work every day.
The phenomenon is easy to explain – it’s the oldest advertising trick in the book. Give the people a personal connection to an event or product, and they’ll fall all over themselves to be involved with it. Use this toothpaste and you’ll have a brighter smile and fresher breath and be more successful. Buy these clothes and you’ll snag a fabulous mate. Donate to this cause, and you’ll save both the friend/family member that was affected, and perhaps the world! With Indonesia being such an international vacation destination and the sheer numbers of those affected by the disaster, it’s hard to find someone who wasn’t directly impacted by the event.
It’s much harder to find people who have been impacted by the trouble in the Sudan (where over 50,000 have been killed), or the hurricaine in Haiti earlier this year. What about the thousands of homeless and struggling families right here in our own city that are so easy to ignore as we float above them on the SkyTrain, or drive past them in our cushy SUVs? How about the kids who could really use a big brother or big sister – when’s the last time you volunteered or donated your time, money or goods to help these causes? Have you ever been inspired to organize a fundraiser for any of them?
MSF (Doctors without Borders) has already released statements that they have more than enough funding for their relief efforts in South East Asia. Will you still donate to them for other important efforts? Red Cross representatives have said that managing the well-intentioned but ultimately useless donations of goods is referred to as “The Second Disaster” in the non-profit relief-aid circle. Have those goods made it out of your house yet to organizations such as the Salvation Army that could really use them as the weather turns for the worse?
I’m not trying to slag anyone for anything they have or haven’t done – it’s still an amazingly powerful and inspiring thing that so many around the world are so inspired to give. I’m just trying to say “keep the flame alive.” Use all of this positive giving energy to keep your fundraisers going, and keep up the efforts to donate your time and capital to not only the Tsunami victims in South East Asia, but those who need your help around the world, and right here at home. Find a cause that matters to you, and do your best to strongly support it, not just in times of extreme (and well-publicized) disaster and peril, but all year.