Be a Hero – Donate to the Red Cross

by Rachel Baker on June 26, 2011

So often, when something devastating happens in the world like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis, we send donations to organizations that are providing relief.  After a tragic natural disaster, we always hear about how much money was raised to help the people in other countries.  When you listen to the news and radio about this, its almost like people are implying “look at how generous we are that we donated this much to other countries.” Yet, we never hear about how much has been donated for relief during our own countries disasters. Anyone know how much was donated from Americans for relief during Katrina? Or how much was donated from Americans to help those whose lives have recently been devastated by the Tornadoes in the Mid-west?  Did you run to the Red Cross website and donate money or give blood or volunteer to help in any way possible?

We all watched with despair as the tornadoes ransacked large areas in a one week period, thanking our gods that we don’t live there, wondering how anyone could and then… well, then we went back to our own lives.  And right now, there’s actually people who are so jaded that in comment sections about the floods in Minot, ND, who are saying things like “oh come on, these people are going to collect their government handouts, and move right back in to the home that was just devastated and wait for the next flood to the government can help them again.

Really? Really?!

The world moves on, and instead of follow ups to how these people’s lives are getting back to normal, we hear about how FEMA hasn’t acted quick enough or how the President isn’t doing enough – regardless of the logistics involved or the behind the scenes work that is done to help the devastated victims. And then those same people that are accusing the victims of natural disasters of milking the system for government handouts by moving back to the same areas are the same people who get in a tizzy because government isn’t doing enough and no one cares about these people.

I think that’s what’s wrong with us right now.  Politics eats up our airwaves, not the small things we do for our friends and neighbors that help make their lives a little bit better.  Maybe there would be less strife and less animosities if we spent more time talking about the little humanitarian kindnesses most of us do every single day rather than who said what about who in Washington or who murdered who and why; or even a minute by minute commentary on what is going on in a court case that affects absolutely no one in the country but the family of the person on trial.  People are, for the most part, kind and caring of others – I truly believe this, and maybe that’s naive, but its what I believe.  Unfortunately, I think, sometimes, we have a hard time remembering this about ourselves.

So, where am I going with this commentary?  I know, its beginning to sound a lot like a rant. Sorry about that.

As you probably know there have been more then 10,000 people who had to evacuate their homes due to flooding of the Souris River in Minot, ND.  Today’s news is the water levels appear to be falling, ever so slowly; and more then 4000 homes have been damaged by the River streaming over levees.

My sister lives in Minot, ND, in an area that is completely safe from the flooding of the Souris River.  Over the past week, and during the previous flood a couple of weeks ago, she and her family have volunteered to help her friends and neighbors.  She’s spent hours sandbagging, has helped people pack up all their belongings and move them to a safe place, and she’s volunteered with the Red Cross relief efforts.

I’m so incredibly proud of the mark she and her family are making in other people’s lives just by being kind and generous enough to volunteer their time and efforts to help out.  She certainly doesn’t have to be doing these things.  She’s safe, and she’s mostly unaffected by the disaster happening in the other part of the city she lives in.  But she’s kind and generous and is doing everything she can to help those in need around her.  In short, she and her husband are my heroes.

And there are others doing the same thing, in all parts of our country.  I don’t know their names, or the type of people they really are; but in a time of need, they’ve been there.

We often talk about firefighters and rapid response teams as being heroes.  What we often leave out is that there are other people in times of need volunteering to help others, who are also heroes, and should be recognized as such.  In times of crisis, people, in general, band together to help each other out, even though we may hear little about it over the airwaves.

All of us, at one time or another, is a hero, whether we think of it that way or not.  Many of us don’t do things for the recognition of being a hero.  Many of us don’t consider ourselves as heroes – and maybe many of us don’t even know the effects our kindnesses have on someone else’s life.  Maybe if we spent more talking about the people that provide aid, relief or maybe just a supportive hug during tragedy, we’d be better off.

Its time to demonstrate that we as a country, no matter what our politics, race, creed, gender or sexual preferences are, can come together and help provide relief to those in need.  There are 4000 people right now in need, and that’s just in one small area of our country, in a place few have heard of and fewer still would consider adding to their top places to vacation.

I know in this time of economic difficulty, its difficult to lay out any amount of money for someone else – ten dollars is an important amount of money right now.  Consider this, though: We were at just as terrible a place economically when Haiti’s earthquake happened, and we gave an enormous amount of money – as a whole, in individual small amounts – to relief efforts.

Why not do the same thing for people in our own country? Look at all the things the Red Cross is providing assistance and relief for right now; and check this out, since May 31st, 2011 to date, the Red Cross has:

* Served over 940,931 meals and 2,118,031 snacks
* Opened 271 shelters
* Provided 32,552 overnight stays
* Made 36,649 health and 33,187 mental health contacts.
* Distributed over 1,425,227 bulk items, including 40,195 clean up kits and 67,465 comfort kits.
* 12,730 Red Cross workers, of which 11,103 are volunteers, have assisted with relied and recovery efforts.

My plea to you today is that you donate to the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross to help with their efforts to provide assistance and relief to the people my sister and her husband are helping – their friends and neighbors who are experiencing the loss of their homes due to the flooding.  However, donating to the Red Cross, in general would help them provide services to people in other places that are in need of relief as well.

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