helping those in need

As I write this we are in the third day after the earthquake in Haiti.  Images, videos, the sounds and the horrors of the earthquake have sunk into our collective memories.  While many of us feel a great need and compassion to give, in the hopes of helping those in their hour of great need, it would behoove us to take pause for many of the requests that we have coming in for donations.

It is noble that our government has chosen to send aid to this impoverished nation.  In my mind, it is more than noble–it is a necessity.  Having said that, in no way do I want you to think that means that we, as American citizens, should not give of our own resources and wealth that God has so graciously bestowed on us to assist those in need.

While this is not a blog post that is intended to encourage you to give, I certainly don’t want to discourage giving. The intent of this post is to merely point out the obvious–during this time of need, you will probably receive e-mail requests that are designed to get you to send your hard earned money to assist some organization in order to help the Haitian people.

And I want to let you know that you should be wary of many, if not all, of these requests for assistance. As I have previously posted on this blog (here and here), it is not hard to craft an e-mail that can send you to a phishing or a spoof site that will take your donation and put it into the pockets of some unscrupulous persons.

If you really want to give so that helps folks in Haiti, I would recommend you take the initiative and give to the nonprofit charity of your choice. This maybe the American Red Cross, World Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, or any one of hundreds of organizations that can help during this time of need.

I would not suggest you give to organizations that are run by our government. Unfortunately, many of these organizations have higher overhead costs (such as management, oversight, bureaucracy, etc.) so that your dollar dwindles in its assistance power.  (Note: I’m not saying giving to government organizations is bad, I am pointing out the obvious–that you may not get the most bang for your buck.)

So during this time of great need, I’m positive Americans will rise up and give greatly.  It seems to be in our nature.  It seems to be the path we continue to choose to walk down.  And that’s (yet) another reason to be proud of being an American!

But be wary of those asking for your donations.  You may want to bypass the e-mail requests altogether, and just take the initiative to give to the organization of your choice.  Keep the people of Haiti in your prayers as they struggle through this time of great sorrow.