Sunday, March 13, 2011
Look at Japan, and be thankful
I sit here in my cozy house, heat at a comfortable 68 degrees, sipping some homemade chicken noodle soup, typing on my laptop.
9,000 miles away, a woman stands in the dark, knee deep in mud in near-freezing temperatures, with no food, no water, and no clue where her house is or whether or not her family is still alive.
My heart aches for the people of Japan.
With an estimated death toll at more than 10,000, the events of the past few days have literally rocked this part of the world to its very core. In a matter of minutes, lives were lost or changed forever, dreams shattered, livelihoods and overall quality of life completely swept away.
The worldwide effect of this disaster is not yet known, but it's safe to say that this devastated region will probably never, ever be the same.
Just a few days ago, these people, these human beings just like us, were doing things just like us. They drove to work. They went to the grocery store. They sat in their warm homes and played with their children. Now there are no roads to drive on. No food on the shelves. No heat or light. And for some - the greatest loss - their families.
Sometimes I grow tired of how the news media seems to hunger so much for "exciting" news. They seem to milk stories of tragedy and devastation like a bulging cow. But this time it's different. This isn't going away. This isn't going to get better any time soon. For many in that country, it hasn't even begun to get as bad as it's going to get.
Kind of makes you want to whap Charlie Sheen up side the head and tell him to crawl under a rock. He doesn't matter. Neither does whether the Bachelor will pick the blond or the brunette or who's going to get voted off American Idol. And this goes beyond telling your kid to eat his dinner because there are starving people in Africa.
This is big. This is real. This is important. And we should feel thankful each and every time we wake up in the morning, eat our breakfast, drive our cars to work and come home every night and hug our children. And we should feel so helpless that we search out ways to offer some sort of assistance - no matter how small - in the hopes of being one drop in an enormous bucket that these people will need to even remotely rebuild their lives.
This isn't a plea for money, but I am going to list the links to credible organizations (via Network for Good) that are accepting donations to the relief efforts in Japan. Check them out and consider giving what you can. And if you can't, pray for them. Pray that they find warmth, and light, and food, and water, and shelter, and lost family members, as well as anything and everything else that the earth and the waters took from them on March 11, 2011.
AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region to help.
GLOBALGIVING: Established a fund to disburse donations to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
SAVE THE CHILDREN: Mobilizing to provide immediate humanitarian relief in the shape of emergency health care and provision of non-food items and shelter.
THE SALVATION ARMY: has been in Japan since 1895 and is currently providing emergency assistance to those in need.
AMERICARES: Emergency team is on full alert, mobilizing resources and dispatching an emergency response manager to the region.
CONVOY OF HOPE: Disaster Response team established connection with in-country partners who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance.
INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS: Putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities.
SHELTER BOX: The first team is mobilizing to head to Japan and begin the response effort.