craft verb \'kraft\ to create with care, skill and intention

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Disaster Relief - What to Do?

Are you guys as overwhelmed as I am by everything that has happened/is happening in Japan? I have been especially challenged by trying to find a way to talk to the kids about it in a way that gives them a sense of what is going on without scaring them silly. We talked again this afternoon and we have decided that we will forgo our blanket-making and -giving plans and send our giving bank money to an agency that is providing relief in Japan. I read an article last night that lists several legitimate organizations that are accepting donations to provide aid to Japan. I think I will give the kids the choice between The American Red Cross and Save the Children. I'll let you know what they decide. After today's discussion, my 11-year-old put a $20 bill that she found at the park into the giving bank. When I told her that was a very generous thing to do, she replied, "I think they need it more than I do."

And, of course, they do need it more than she does. We all become much more aware of needs around the world during disasters, but the truth is that every single day there are people whose basic needs go unmet. This is where I start to have a very difficult time being reasonable. How can I justify my little daily expenditures that are really so petty and unnecessary when other people are starving? The Hubs tells me to get a hold of myself, that I can't save the whole world. And he's right, I know he is. I mean, I kind of know. But shouldn't we ALL be trying a little bit harder? Maybe I should take a lesson from my 11-year-old. I mean, which need is greater: a hungry child's need for a meal, or my need for a 1/2 cup batter scoop so my cupcakes can be more uniform in size and I can feel fancy when I'm baking? Well, if you looked in my utensil drawer right now, you would see that just about a week ago I decided that my need to feel fancy was a greater need. The Hubs tells me that it's okay to do things like that, that it's okay to do things for ourselves. Part of me knows that it's okay, as long as we also give. But another part of me knows that we could always do more.

How do you guys walk that line in your life and with your family? Do you struggle to find balance in giving?

Nature's power is so awesome. Even as incredible destruction is taking place, regrowth occurs simultaneously. Here's some proof:
Growing in the shelter of a grow-light and climate-controlled
conditions in my laundry room.
But, even outside, there are signs of regeneration. This is
one of my ornamental pears. I don't really understand the
point of "ornamental" fruit trees - but they sure are pretty.
Signs of life on one of my blackberry bushes! Come on spring!!
And on an extremely local level, there is progress in my closet.

A "before" shot of a shelf in my closet. BTW, I have no idea
where that NASCAR koozie came from or why it is in my closet.
Let's not call this an "after." How about "during?" And don't even
think about harshing on my Rosie the Riveter.
Finally, a Toss it Tuesday pic. My basket today is filled with junk from my closet. It's mostly clothes, so a lot of it will go to Goodwill instead of into the garbage.

This is only the junk I could fit in the basket for a photo. I
actually got rid of a lot more than this. Woo hoo!
See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

B Crump said...

matt 12:44 talks about watching a widow give such a small amount in comparison to others, but she gave out of her need instead of out of her excess. Cool story and you would assume that her gift was more important than the others. I'm not so sure. I think that the gift she gave proved to be more important to HER than the other gifts were important to their perspective givers. If that's true then it makes me wonder if our giving isn't more important to us *as the giver* then it is to the cause we're giving to. That's my take, anyways.

What it puts me in the mind of is that when we give out of grace, compassion, and a loving mindset it is more beneficial to us *as the giver* than if we give out of guilt or from a sense of responsibility. After all, any non-profit you might donate to in this situation uses approximately 50-60% of revenues to cover overhead costs and such.

At the Crump casa we've developed a set strategy for giving to local causes alone. I just can't see past the homeless guy that lives in a tent on Riverside that I run past all the time in order to throw money at Japan. I'm overwhelmed by the human suffering in Japan, but I'm holding fast to our local strategy because I have to take care of my neighbors closest first before I'm able to offer a leg up to those halfway around the world.

Read the article posting on my site today about the single homeless mom that recently wrote a book of poetry. Her plea at the end is to give to your local communities and local causes before sending your dollars to overseas causes. I'm thinking she's right.

Don't get me wrong. You know good and well I'm cheering for the Japanese people like they were the Cowboys winning a superbowl. But they're not getting my money or my time. The local needs of my community will be benefiting from the Crump household. I'm globally minded, but locally consistent. My heart continues to ache for the Haitians as well as the Japanese, but I've got meals to serve at John 3:16 Mission and they're gonna be pissed if I don't show up because I'm watching news footage of Japan.

...or maybe I'm making all this up and I don't give a rat...

Go save the world, Brooke. Just do it in tight little nested circles which gradually move outward from your home. You won't get very far, but you'll make the largest overall impact to the world as a whole. Teaching those kiddos the meaning of giving is far more important to the well-being of the world we share than any amount of money you collect in the jar. They'll continue to give for the rest of their lives because of you. They might even learn a thing or two from Jeff, but I doubt it.