I sat in the most comfortable chair in the house, with my feet propped up on the ottoman in my living room, under a light blanket, and a perfectly warm cup of coffee on the end table, watching the news. I saw the videos, heard the stories and read the many tweets that came through about the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. Soon after the story broke, I saw a wonderful thing happening – people pitching in to help. Some even decided to help out the hands-on kind of way and make their way to volunteer in rescue and relief efforts. How great is that? So far, millions of dollars have been raised for charity. In fact, the Red Cross reported they were able to raise five million dollars already, through their texting “haiti” to 90999 campaign.
The earthquake occurred on January 12th. That was three days ago. Five million dollars raised in three days. That’s pretty impressive. Then I thought, well wait a minute. Isn’t there an estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million people that experience homelessness in the US each year according to a study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty? And didn’t The Bureau of Labor Statistics (PDF) report the unemployment rate at 10% on January 8, 2010? Wow, for a people trying to pull themselves out of a recession, the US sure is generous. Where did we come up with all this spare change?
While I think it’s great that the US is so eager to assist other countries during their time of need, I often wonder how many of us remember that we are also in need. For ever penny we contribute to other countries, shouldn’t an equal contribution be made to our own. Is it idealistic of me to think we should contribute double the amount of money or resources we contribute to others?
$5,000,000 in three days. Can you imagine what that kind of money could do for us here?