As humans, we should embrace charity in our lives, both giving and receiving, regardless of religion or creed. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help when you need it; nor should it be seen as foolish to give it when the appropriate times come.
Despite my often jaded and cynical outlook, when other humans are helping each other in times of need, I look for a reasonable way I can help.
With recent events such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the altruistic responses have been overwhelming.Unfortunately, something that got under my skin and overshadowed this response of generosity was a lot of criticism directed at the American Red Cross.
One of the main articles that gained a lot of attention in the immediate aftermath of Harvey was written by an individual who donated $20 during the Haiti earthquake then decried the Red Cross for what he perceived as mismanagement of funds, therefore he would not give them another twenty this time. I looked at the comment section and it was, unsurprisingly, a battleground. Many of the stories were the same: how they would be giving their ten dollars somewhere else because the Red Cross is a corporation, not a charity. Some were even saying that the money should be sent to churches, because God will do more than any other charity or government.
If you truly believe that, then you are a fool.
The American Red Cross is a massive charity, overseeing dozens of programs. To make sure the American Red Cross runs effectively, some people need to do this full time and be paid for their work. The CEO and president Gail J. McGovern is paid $517,364 a year, which accounts for 00.01 percent of all expenditure. The total expenses for administration came to a total of 4.1 percent of the budget, about $118,033,560.
While that may seem like a considerable amount of money to be spent on administration in a charitable organization, consider what the Red Cross does. They collect over thirteen million units of blood a year in the United States. They respond to major disasters like hurricanes and smaller disasters all year around. They also provide lifesaving training. I doubt the Red Cross would have the same reach and effectiveness if the charity was run only by volunteers.
Is there fraud within the Red Cross? Any organization large as them is going to have some corruption at various levels. There is no institution, charitable or corporate, without its flaws. However, the work of a few dishonest individuals should not discredit an organization almost 150 years old.
As for donating to churches, there are several charities that are faith-based who help with natural disasters. Most of them are very helpful and do great work. Though, I prefer to donate to secular charity, therefore the funds I give will not be spent promoting religion first, helping people second.
Donating to evangelicals during these times, however, is distasteful to me. Especially when “pastors” like Jim Bakker say Harvey was God’s judgement on America… but buy this one-hundred-dollar food bucket from him and one will be given to the affected areas.
Recently heavily-criticized Houston televangelist Joel Osteen closed his church during the floods. A building which could house 16,000 individuals comfortably. Yet, Osteen still has the gall to chastise people for complaining, because God is challenging them and they should be strong enough to face their difficulties.
Those individuals are not following any of Jesus’ teachings, and I hesitate to call them human beings, let alone Christians. They are sanctimonious con-men who are the poster children for the camel and eye of the needle parable. You would get more value if you lit the money on fire than give it to Osteen or Bakker. At least the flames kept you and those around warm.
I donated several supplies to the Red Cross to be used in their emergency shelters, and I will do the same when Irma hits our shores. I encourage all to donate through money or labor to charities. Be your donation the American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Feeding America or another reputable charity, what you donate will make an impact. You are not helping when you are holding back money because you want to prove a point. The suffering of millions is no place for grandstanding. If you want to prove yourself to be better than others, stand and deliver or be quiet.
Charity outlook: Information given here is available at Charity Navigator. Example: Doctors without Borders.
Doctors without Borders, USA: 88.7 percent of all expenses are directly related to their programs, which aid both medical and civil concerns. Cholera, malaria, typhoid and other illnesses eradicated from the US are active in other parts of the world. Doctors without Borders provide the needed resources to combat these contagions. Donations can be made monthly or one time only through a variety of means and are a tax-deductible charity. More information can be found at http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/.
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