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Serenity Now Mailbag: Should We Help Home or Haiti?

January 24, 2010 8 comments

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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