Odds are that you have heard of Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped through The Philippines last week, leaving at least 3,637 people dead and affecting another 11 million. The articles I have read have been heartbreaking. People drinking filthy water because it’s all they have; hospitals not having the necessary resources to help dying babies; and, the most heart-wrenching one I read, the story of a father asking forgiveness because he couldn’t hold on to his daughter as the storm ripped her away from him. I think it became even more real for me because I recently watched The Impossible, a movie about the 2004 tsunami that hit countries in Southeast Asia. A girl I work with grew up in the Philippines and knows a lot of people in the area that was hit the hardest. Other friends of mine have served as missionaries in The Philippines and love those people unconditionally.
Why you should donate
If you are reading this, you have most likely been blessed to grow up in a developed country where the developing world’s luxury is your mainstay. Sometimes I feel poor, but having been among people living on less than $1 a day, I know just how blessed I am.
The name of this blog was taken from Andrew Carnegie’s treatise The Gospel of Wealth. In this essay, he talks about how those with wealth were blessed with that wealth by God in order to bless the lives of others. He donated millions and millions of dollars to bless others with the gift of the arts and literature. And even though you and I aren’t wealthy in that sense, wealth in this case is relative. One million people donating $1 is, in my mind, more powerful than one person donating $1 million, because it shows that we as people are putting our resources together to help other brothers and sisters who are suffering. There is a powerful synergy there.
And I know it’s hard sometimes to feel the reality of it because it’s on the other side of the world, but if you stop and think about the pain and despair these people are going through, you can’t help but feel that same connection to them as you would your own loved ones.
So no matter what your budget is, I plead with you to donate. As for me, I will be skipping some meals over the next couple of weeks and donating that money I’m saving.
How you can donate
In the past, when my wife and I weren’t able to spare extra cash, we were able to use our credit card rewards to donate. Check with your credit card to see if you can donate rewards points. I believe our credit card offered a few different charities we could donate to.
Another way is to check out this list from Charity Navigator. There are certainly a lot of different charities cropping up that are meant to help, but not all charities are created equal. Some use more of your donations for administration and fundraising expenses, and you’d be surprised at how much of your money actually goes to the people you want to help. There is also The Red Cross, which was not listed on that Charity Navigator list.
And lastly, one of my friends who lived in Tacloban, one of the hardest hit cities, set up a campaign on CrowdRise that you can donate to. The donations will be funneled through the Humanitarian Services arm of LDS Philanthropies, and it is one of the few organizations that I know of where 100% of your donation goes to those in need.
No matter how you choose to donate, and even if you don’t plan on donating, God bless you. Hopefully this experience will help us all grow together as a human race rather than be just another bad thing that happened far far away that we’ll forget about in a week.