Home > Polls, Serenity Now Mailbag > Serenity Now Mailbag: Should We Help Home or Haiti?

Serenity Now Mailbag: Should We Help Home or Haiti?

From time to time, I get people who write me ideas to blog about, so I’ve decided to start a “mailbag” section.  Our first one deals with the emergency and relief in Haiti, after the recent earthquake.

Dear Dave,

 We all send money in an instant when a disaster strikes somewhere. Well what about our own people?  They live on hard cold concrete yearly and they all have mental problems and need something more than what our government is doing.  Our government sends millions of dollars over there [to Haiti], and ships other supplies, and we hear about it on the news.  It breaks my heart to hear [that the earthquake happened], and it sucks, but it is a natural disaster, and we should be looking at why we didn’t help them [with other situations] before this happened and you started hearing all kinds of cool things that are going on there now.
Great, but what did these people do before the disaster who are giving [their] money and time?  Did they wake up and have a brain fart and go, “I’m [just] going to send money.” ? That’s great, but do they help our Canadians who are in need?  I don’t mean the food banks that are helping single parents on income assistance and such; [but] here in Canada people charge money to their cell phones [to donate to Haiti relief], but why don’t they do the same for the people who are in dire need here at home?  Same with the government, who do nothing for them.
Lots of celebrities like to make a big deal about how much they are donating, but I say the people that count are the people that do it and say nothing at all.

Adrian

An interesting point of few, that reminds me of a similar story in recent media.  On January 14, controversial Florida-based radio DJ, “Bubba The Love Sponge” (whose show is broadcast on Howard Stern’s Sirius/XM Satellite Radio channel), made the following comment via his Twitter account:

I say fuck Haiti. Why do we have to take care of everybody [else], our country is in shambles.”

He then clarified his controversial statement in a series of “tweets” three days later: 

When we don’t have kids that are on the streets here in America, and we have a surplus of money, and we have paid China the 60 or so trillion we owe them, and we are no longer losing American troops’ lives over a religious war that has been going on longer than we have been a country, and we have most of our own working again (unemployement is over 10% now btw), then we can start worrying about other countries and natural acts beyond our control. Where were all these people we are helping when we had the Midwest floods, or the 5 Hurricanes in ‘05 that hit Florida, or Huricane Andrew or Katrina? Take the money you want to send to Haiti and go to a Big Brothers or Big Sisters and mentor a child that doesn’t have a dad or mom; and give that little boy or girl a chance and a hope of being something great that would benefit our country more than Haiti relief. Bubba.”

Unfortunately for Bubba, it was too little, too late; as he got a face full of fists from Awesome Kong shortly after (a legit fight).

Surprisingly, I’ve heard other opposition to Haiti relief as well, and people are entitled to their opinion on the matter.  A lot of people have concerns about if the money actually makes it to Haiti (or any country that is in need of relief), or whether their money is making someone on the other end richer than before, and not at all helping the people it was intended for.  If that is something stopping you from sending money, the Government of Canada has provided a searchable database of registered charities that are sending money and supplies to Haiti that you can lookup any charity that you are questioning legitimacy.  Sure, there are scammers out there; but there are people and organizations genuinely trying to help as well, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Our Government has also announced it will match all donations made by Canadians to the effort.  AND you may not know that they also forgave Haiti’s entire monetary debt to us last July.  Check out that little tidbit here.  Let’s just hope that other countries are that generous to us if we find ourselves in a similar situation in the future.

I think both Adrian and Bubba raise an interesting point though; which is that there are plenty of people at home that are in desperate need of assistance as well for altogether different reasons.  I just can’t say that giving money to help Haiti is a bad idea; but maybe if you are still considering making a donation, or can still afford to give more, why not match or give a little to a local homeless shelter, or food bank, or something in your own city?  Not everyone can afford to give money, and that’s fine.  Lots of people think of creative ways to raise money, and there’s always different ways besides giving money to get involved in this charity and others.  If you are able to, you should get involved.  

            “Give to the poor.”

                        -Jesus: Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 12:33

What about you?

Also, on behalf of Christians everywhere, I’d like to apologize for tele-evangelist, Pat Robertson’s comments on January 13 that insinuated that the earthquake was a result of Haiti being under a curse from making a pact with The Devil to oust the French from their country in the 1700’s.  Even if there was someway to actually prove that, the comment was untimely and out of line at best.  He should’ve kept his mouth shut; making that comment served no positve or reasonable purpose imaginable.  Sorry.

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  1. max fireman
    January 24, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I believe that Haiti is going through a nightmare and its great what everyone is doing to chip in. Sure, Canada and the US has its problems its problems but not to the point where over 100k have died and more keep dying every day cause of this earthquake. Its only support for some weeks or months then we all forget about what happend.
    So good on everyone who has donated to help the poorest nation on the continent.

    • January 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Anything that anyone is doing to help “chip in” is definitely great. If a few bucks is somehow the difference between one more person dug out of the rubble, or one more family getting medical supplies, then something as simple as a $5 text message donation certainly seems worth it.

      If we can even verify our money is going to a legitimate charity to help, maybe the question is, how can you really go wrong by donating? At the same time, giving another $5 to a local charity could go a long ways as well.

  2. January 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    This is a challenging problem for sure. We live in a global village, and have for millennia. The Apostle Paul gathered some money from some churches which he was taking to some poor people in other cities, countries, and provinces way back in about AD 55. We have a friend who’s in Haiti right now. He says there’s just nothing left there. He’s been going to Haiti doing relief work for about 10 years, digging wells and working in orphanages. He’s got an answer to “where were we before the quake?”
    Pat Robertson isn’t worth paying any attention to. But this devastation in Haiti sure gives us an opportunity to help now, regardless of whether it’s God’s punishment or not.

    Grant

    • January 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      I had an interesting experience in Thailand; visiting the site of the Tsunami memorial on Koh Phi Phi Island. I don’t have to remind you of the devastation caused by that event. The word we got there was that because that country’s economy relies on tourism so heavily, they rebuilt all the buildings as quickly as possible, without too much interest placed on safety reinforcement or even relocation to different sites. Lets just hope Thailand doesn’t have to go through that again, because from an infastructure standpoint, they are not prepared.

  3. January 24, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Sometimes my gut reaction is .. hey.. we need to help people at home first! Thankfully I also have an instinct that tells me to look a little closer. I’m glad I do.. These are countries that have a level of poverty en mass that most people can not comprehend, often a political system that is in a state of chaos and infrastructure that can not support this kind of a disastrous on many different levels. So help I will and I encourage everyone to do the same, a million dollars or just one it can make a difference.

    Plus helping other countries does “do” something for our country, it reinforces the “kind” of country we are and sets an excellent example about lending a hand whenever and where ever it’s needed on the home front or abroad.

    But truth told.. it’s just the right thing to do.

    Bigger picture.. maybe one of those kids your money helped save will be adopted into a Canadian family and in turn will have a family of his/her own and maybe one of those kids will grow to be the next PM or find the cure for cancer.. or be the true love of your grandchild.. or maybe not.. but you just never know 🙂

    Susan

    • January 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for your comments Susan!

      I think that a lot of people don’t realize that their donations could go towards alleviating some of that poverty; however like I mentioned, there’s probably an equal amount of people concerned that their well intentioned donations could be inadvertently aiding some of that political chaos, and not help the people who need it at all. Like I mentioned, I think there’s ways to verify that your money will go to legit efforts, and that fear isn’t necessarily valid if you go through the proper checkpoints.

      We do live in an interesting country; one that is almost expected to be large contributors to relief efforts and peacekeeping simply by Canadian nature. In my opinion, there’s much worse labels for a country to be given; and if everyone contributing a few dollars adds to that flavor, I don’t mind, especially if we wind up in a similiar situation someday needing aid from other places.

      You’re right as well; you never know who you’ll end up helping. While the people who are saved may not turn out to be any great humanitarian figure at all, they may just be a normal person who leads a normal life. I don’t see anything wrong with affording someone that right to live out there life any way they see fit; and if a few bucks out of my pocket contributes to that happening for someone, then it definitely is the right thing to do.

      Who will you be donating to?

  4. ryley
    January 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    We need a national “make a donation day”. Maybe that will remind everyone once a year to do something kind for ppl we don’t often think about. I’m not talking about a huge donation but just something like I said to ppl who are usually forgotten whether it be to an orginization at home or abroad

    • January 24, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      Hmm, interesting concept. Would this day “excuse” people from donating to charities when other bad situations occur? For example, if I donate on donation day, and then there’s a natural disaster somewehere next month, would I be able to not donate then and still feel good about myself because I know I had already donated? Or are you thinking more along the line of just an oberservational day, like Earth Day and others?

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