Tragedies can bring this country together. It is when friends and strangers are in need the best of us shine through. Or that’s what we tell ourselves when we use relief efforts as spring cleaning.
That’s right as tragedies come and go I ask one thing…. fight the urge to run to the closet and ship off things you don’t want. Right now it’s September in Houston, and you may think “hey its fall time I’m sure those poor folks who have lost everything could use my old coats and long sleeve shirts.” Well, you are half right. While it is turning into fall, fall doesn’t mean shit in Texas. Fall in Houston means it’s a high of 88 degrees out not 94. Giving away physical goods is a complete waste of time and other resources.
Your box of old shirts you want to give must be
- gathered up
And during each step of the process, they have to be put somewhere. Taking up physical space sometimes during disaster relief the physical goods take up so much room that planes with actual aid cannot land. Plenty of times after everything was said and done the majority of things sent were tossed out or burned. After Sandy Hook around 65,000 teddy bears were sent to a town of 27,000. There were so many paper snow flakes, letters, paper cranes sent in that they had no idea what to do with it. The town thought about burning it all and using the ashes as the foundation for a memorial, but when OTHER people got wind of this idea, they got pissy about it.
Flint Michigan had an issue with people sending them bottled water. Pearl Jam and the Detroit Lions sent 100,000 bottles each Puff Daddy, and Mark Wahlberg joined up and sent them 1,000,000 bottles of water. A touching gesture for a city of 100,000 people. Thanks for hours worth of fresh water. Couldn’t the money spent on purchasing and shipping the water be better dedicated to water filters and fixing the problem?
Just like the bottled water your food drives don’t work either. This time instead of cleaning out your closet you start cleaning out the old food you never wanted to eat. Hey, they should be grateful for the three years past expired can of pumpkin pie filling or the creamed corn from 2007. Look if the Vault Dweller in Fallout can eat prepackaged food 100 of years old whats a couple for someone who needs it? All you did was get someone else to sort through your stuff pay for shipping it to another place for them to toss it in the trash.
So Duchess how can I give back to people in hard times? I can’t give them my old clothes; I can’t give them my food; I can’t give them water what can I do?
Give blood or as impersonal as it sounds a donation of cold hard cash goes a hell of a lot further than anything else. Sometimes the “least you can do” is the best thing you can do. Even if you just send the $30 you planned on spending to ship your package of goods. Most charities have an infrastructure that can stretch $1 further than you can imagine. Still, want to clean out your closet? Bring those clothes and take them to a second-hand store and send the money you get to a charity. Your food donations are better off staying local as it saves money and resources in the shipping and the money sent to a local food bank gets spent locally and helps a local economy recover faster. For more information, please check out this link.