America’s Response to Haiti
The world has paused and been shaken to its moral core as we see such graphic and haunting images of the suffering that continues in Haiti’s earthquake aftermath. I feel proud to be an American seeing how the entire country has rallied behind another country’s unfair misfortune.
Americans have been galvanized as evidenced by the outpouring of generosity on fundraisers such as Larry King’s celebrity telethon, which raised nearly $9 million in two hours. This got me thinking about how we can incorporate giving into our budgets and use this spirit of charity as a defining moment to teach our kids about giving as well.
The Giving Power of the U.S.
As Americans, we forget that we are still the richest country in the world, even in a bum economy and with all of our job losses. According to the World Bank, approximately 2.8 billion or nearly half of the world’s population lives off of just $1 per day. Clearly, they aren’t living, which is why nearly 800 million are hungry every day with no food at all.
Spend Less and Give More
What if we used this spotlight in Haiti as an opportunity to self-sacrifice on a daily basis for charity. What I mean is, let’s think of ways we can save money regularly and then give that money to someone in need. For example,
- Bringing Lean Cuisine to work for lunch instead of spending 10 bucks at the neighborhood Chinese buffet. Consider it a type of paying it forward. I sponsor a World Vision child by doing this a couple times a month and the rewards have been so gratifying.
- There are plenty of other non profit organizations that cater to the needs of children and their families here and abroad that have longstanding reputations free from any scandal.
Sponsoring a child in another country can be a great educational tool for your own children as well. Most organizations provide letters and updates and allow you to send care packages and correspondence to your child. Having your own kids think about their “sister” or “brother” in a third world country and seeing the impact that their American dollar can make on changing a child’s life is a deep character building experience that breeds compassion, understanding and deepens a child’s sense of self beyond their small world.
Recycling can be another way to save in order to give. Consider using the extra dollars you get from your cans and bottles to not only save Mother Earth, but her children too.
We are so fortunate in the U.S. to have access to things that we take for granted like running clean water, plenty of food resources and safe infrastructure that we can’t pass up the opportunity to bring life-changing resources to others, just by saving a little bit of our own hard-earned change for the good of humanity.
This is a guest contribution from Karen, a frugal writer.
Photo by United Nations Development Programme