Our family finally has a complete emergency kit in case of a disaster.
Haiti, January 13, 2011, a year after the quake.
“…at least 810,000 people still sleep outside each night…”
Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2011, almost one month after the quake.
“…117 people still reported missing…”
Indonesia, 2009, five years after the tsunami killed 200,000.
“…life has yet to return to normal.”
The disaster in Japan is tragic. So were the disasters in Haiti, New Zealand, and Indonesia. And so were the earthquakes in Chile, the European heat wave of 2003, the 1906 San Francisco fire, and on and on and on and on.
Today we have great agencies like Mercy Corps, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, social networks like Twitter that can immediately raise global awareness, the ability to text in contributions over our phone and an incredibly vast network of volunteers in the affected communities. Not to mention all the resources governments can throw at it.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is how we, the unaffected, react to disaster. We gasp; we watch in horror; we talk about it with neighbors, friends and family; we contribute a few dollars (sometimes); we feel bad. Then we forget. It’s human, right? But what if we could harness that compassion globally, everyday.
Why not take that spirit of compassion, concern and caring and put it to use long after the emotional reaction is done? There are problems to be solved in our own communities, right now, everyday. Those problems aren’t glamorous, but they still need solutions. Sometimes creative solutions.
The next time disaster strikes, show your support, have your emergency kit ready – absolutely! And if you can help directly, do it! But after the emotion has subsided, take some of your daily life and find some new way to help in your own community. Find a new charity to give some time. If you haven’t given blood in awhile, do it.
After disaster strikes, the opportunity to give your time is still waiting. For you.