As I continue to follow the Haiti disaster and be bowled over by the magnitude, there are a few agencies I find comfort in knowing are supporting the effort. It was a wonderful surprise to see Google put together a great page of resources to help get its users focused, one of the major online billboard spaces ever created. It brought attention, not only to the aid workers and organizations, but also gave multiple ways to give (via text, billed via your phone company), plus free voice calls to Haiti, as well as a person-finder tool, and a mapping-tool which people can help to build.
I became a bigger fan of Doctors Without Borders after reading Guy Delisle’s book, The Burma Chronicles, which describes his time spent there with his small child and wife who works for them, so I’m sponsoring them this year in hopes of bettering the health care situation.
I was also happy to see AFSC get into the Haiti mix after they had pulled their offices out of Haiti a few years ago, so they get a little bit from me as well, mainly to help with the peace work there.
I live in an urban environment with lots of homelessness. Once, a friend asked what she should tell her young child about how to cope with seeing so many people in need every day walking down the street–“You can’t help them all,” she said, “and I don’t want my daughter to worry about walking down the street. What should I say?” I think about this a lot, and it seems that helping people a little bit, all the time, thinking about it and being conscious about giving to others is really what matters. I don’t have kids yet, but giving them a bit of pocket change to carry each day while walking around, just to hand out as they see fit, seems to be a way to connect to the problems and concerns of others rather than to ignore it or hope that someone else will care. Making an effort just to notice and reaching out rather than turning away seems to be the way.