Living and Giving

Stretch Our Compassion

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Why True Crisis Giving Is For the Long-term

I recently read an article exploring the question \”How Effective Is Disaster Giving?\”  Writer Kelley Buhles looked at recent examples of crisis situations, and the results in giving and relief work.  I wanted to share my response to the article with you.


Dear Kelley,
Thank you for an article speaking about crisis giving\’s important effect.  It has always been, and will continue to be, a challenging area.  One way I like to think about it is to see if we can stretch our compassion
When we hear of a crisis, we want to help immediately. We want to be a part of the solution; to help heal a life, if not many lives.  We\’d like to see the home we donated to, or the meal we provided.
And yet true crisis giving is for the long-term. And even that is not correct. It\’s for the long, long, lifelong, long-term.  Rebuilding lives, especially when the community may already be in a devasted state, could take a generation.  It\’s not easy work, it\’s not a quick fix.  It takes a lot of strategic planning, balanced with what available resources there are.  Then we need to evaluate our plans with the effectiveness of our tactical execution — what is actually occurring on the ground.
Helping in crisis is not always about the warm meal.  It is also about providing longterm education and access to schooling. It\’s about food programs that allow hungry children to have enough in their bellies so they can even think clearly — to be able to learn. That\’s right… sometimes children are so hungry, they can\’t learn, they can\’t focus, even if they are able to make it to school.
There are so many other areas we could cover… long term health access, job training, voting rights, and so much more.  If you want to be involved in a crisis, I\’d encourage you to give not immediately, but to be a part of Step 2, 3, 4, and onwards as these communities need to rebuild.  Who will be there for them when the media goes away?
You will… because we are all learning to Stretch Our Compassion.
Sincerely, Pamela