Posted by: pastordarren | January 26, 2010

Haiti Relief vs. Local Relief

Since the earthquakes in Haiti, there has been a huge out pouring of money and resources to help with the rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts that have to happen following such a devastating event.  The current numbers are something like 150,000 dead and more than 190,000 injured.  The out pouring of money and resources have come from many places such as churches, celebrities, doctors, Red Cross, and many other places and organizations from around the world.  This is the kind of support and care that usually happens following this type of event.

Recently though, I have seen and heard different people question why we are giving so much money and resources to Haiti when we have a large population of homeless, poor, malnourished and sick people in our country.

These comments and questions got me thinking about why there is such a difference.  There is no doubt that the recent event in Haiti are devastating and they need help from around the world to recover and rebuild.  This will be on going help and not just for a few months.  There is also no doubt that we have issues here at home that need addressed too.

I wonder if the difference comes from what we see in front of us.  The scenes from Haiti fill our computers and news casts, those needs are before us all the time now.  What about the needs here?  How much do we see the needs of people on the street, kids who are malnourished, families who are not insured, etc?  Too often if it is not before us, we don’t see it and it is easy for us to look past or look through the needs that are around us.  What happens too, in a few months, when the ‘newness’ of Haiti wears off and something else takes its place?  Will the need there go away?  No, the needs will be there for a long time to come, but unless we remain aware of it, the help will diminish (think the gulf coast).

I do wonder how we can raise multiple millions of dollars through our cell phones and stars can raise millions in just two hours on t.v. to go to Haiti where they need it but many of our shelters are closing because of lack of funds and food banks are bare because of the great need.  We do need to help those affected by the earthquakes and other disasters as they happen and sometimes the best way is to give money to allow those who are trained and are able to do the direct help.  On the other hand, we can not look past and ignore the needs that are around us every day where ever we live.  We can address these needs in a more direct way through personal help and relationships, gifts of food and support, and yes, giving of money too.

It should not be an either/or as to who we help, but a both/and.  When we do give through good organizations who are going to use the money to help and not just waste it, then the needs are really met, whether in Haiti, Hampton, New York, Los Angles, or any other city.  One of the problems we face when giving is that many times our gifts are wasted or worse, stolen by people who are in it to make money for themselves.  There are many great organizations that do help in appropriate ways.  Check out a previous post at: for ways in which our church is helping through Week of Compassion and don’t forget to be aware of and be willing to meet the needs of those around you.  I encourage you to give to the needs following disasters such as earthquakes, floods and drought, but don’t forget the ongoing needs in your community.

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