Sunday, January 24, 2010

All Haiti donations matched -- finally

It was Shakespeare who reminded us that "the quality of mercy is not strained," so it is good to hear the Harper government has lifted the $50 million cap on Haiti relief efforts and said all donations to listed charities including the Red Cross, the Sally Anns, the "Humanitarian Coalition" (Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children) and a multitude of faith based groups (including those under the Kairos Canada umbrella), will be matched with no limits.   This after it became known that at least $63 million has been pledged since the earthquake 12 days ago.  The fact is they should not have put a limit on in the first place -- there was none after the disasters related to the Boxing Day Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

That being said, it's a good idea to make sure your donation will be matched.    There are a lot of scam artists out there who want to make a fast buck and not give a penny to those in need.   If it's not a reputable NGO -- faith based or otherwise -- or is just something designed ad hoc, it's probably a good idea to steer clear of that.

I would conclude these comments by pointing out that unlike the States, we don't seem to have too much of a problem with faith-based groups; mainly because they draw a clear line between relief work and proselytizing and give to all regardless of creed.   I think we have some lessons there that similar American groups could learn from.    No doubt that Samaritan's Purse and Operation Blessing, for example, do good work but they're almost impossible to distinguish from the ministries of Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson respectively.   On the other hand, when was the last time you heard someone bitch about Development and Peace (Roman Catholic) or World Service and Development (Presbyterian) crossing the faith line?

To borrow a good line from a 1980s cop show, be careful out there.

BTW, there was a lot going on this week, including the shock by-election win for the GOP in Massachusetts, Ben Bernancke's woes in his reconfirmation hearings, the Leno-Letterman-O'Brien spat and Sen. John Edwards' much belated admission he is the father -- but since so many others were writing about it my words would have been obiter dicta I didn't bother.   My quick response in order:   The donkey had better get its act together now to avoid an elephant takeover of Congress in November; Bernacke is a jerk but getting rid of him now -- when he and Jean Claude Trichet (of the Euro Bank) along with other central bankers have worked so well together to keep the economy from collapsing -- would be a disaster; it's time for Jay and Dave to bury the hatchet (18 years is way too long to hold a grudge); John Edwards should be exiled to the least desirable ambassadorship imaginable -- say, Swaziland or Burma -- and Elizabeth should file for divorce.

UPDATE (5:24 pm EST, 2224 GMT):  It goes without saying, of course, but say a prayer not only for the victims and survivors, but also for the aid workers as well as those in uniform helping out in the relief effort.   Now that it's gone from rescue phase to recovery, the aiders need all the help they can get and this won't be done overnight.

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Cicely said...


Thanks very much for posting about relief efforts for Haiti and for linking to the Humanitarian Coalition's site. I will pass along your prayers and best wishes to our staff in Haiti.

All the best,
Save the Children - EVERY ONE Campaign

BlastFurnace said...

Thanks for posting, Cicely.

Lambie said...

I'm intrigued by your way of thinking-- "It goes without saying, of course, but say a prayer not only for the victims and survivors, but also for the aid workers as well as those in uniform helping out in the relief effort." In other words, we are being urged to talk to God about the people in crisis in Haiti as long as we don't give any money to anyone who might talk about God while meeting those needs.

Pray-er said...

You have some interesting suggestions, BlastFurnace. (I couldn't agree with you more about exiling John Edwards to Burma.)

One thing seems a tad out of focus in your clear-thinking on disaster relief however. The effects of disasters are never limited to the physical. Haiti is filled with Christians -- the majority of the people in need are Christians -- why wouldn't it be natural to support a Christian-focused agency that is prepared to include spiritual care along with emergency relief care? The widespread emotional trauma in Haiti will never be addressed by secular relief groups, they really can't address that. Seems to me a wonderful thing to have organizations in the disaster relief mix who both understand and are free to provide some much-needed spiritual/emotional care.