There are a few things going on in my world that has really made me think.

#1 is Haitian relief efforts.  I am happy to be one of the thousands, if not millions of people who donated money to MSF/DWB (Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders) and I one of the many Knitters Without Borders.

#2 is that when this relief effort moves to page 2 and out of our line of sight, will we still be thinking about others who are living in a nightmare?  I don’t mean specifically with building toppling around them or having no idea if their family is alive or sleeping on the streets because their home isnt building stable.

But what about those who are homeless?

Those children who are afraid to go home because of an unstable family?

Those people who haven’t enough to eat?

Those people who can’t dress warmly enough for the weather?

Those people who don’t have access to the medicines they need to stay healthy?

Those children who need a life saving cleft palate surgery?

Young people who have no place to go after school?

Unvisited Elders either in group homes or who live alone?

People living in a war-ravished county who need food, shelter, clothes and crave the normalcy they have almost forgotten?

The list can go on and on.  By no means do I want to detract from the Haitian relief efforts but I have to wonder, what are we giving to the needy who are on page 2?  Those people in our own communities that are in need of comfort and generosity that we can reach out and touch RIGHT NOW.  Please, if you haven’t already, give to MSF/DWB with your donation being “Undirected” so that the skilled managers there can put your money to work where it is needed the most.  Maybe its Haiti but it also could be Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or DRC.  And then think about what you can do, right now, for your community.

Take food over to the local food bank?

Donate clothes?

Could you become a foster parent?

Give unwanted (but whole) games to a local youth program?

Become a Big Brother/Big Sister?

Work a shift at the homeless cafe?

Read to elderly?

Volunteer at the hospital?

Cook dinner for a neighbour?

Go watch a Freshman or JV sports game to encourage youth?

An Elder you can shovel for?

Just think about what can you do to make the lives of those around you better.  What would make them smile?  What would make their day just a little bit easier?  My friend BrightonWoman told me that while she was pregnant with Eagle and having a rough few first months while her husband was travelling with school work (he was the 6-12 teacher), while everyone in town said things like, “Wow, it must be hard for you with 2 little ones and to be pregnant!”, no one thought to bring over dinner or to invite them over.  No one stopped by to visit.  No one reached out a hand to help them and they had been well known in that village of 35 people.  Granted, her need wasn’t a blatantly obvious one but what about those people with less obvious needs around you?  What about sharing your friendship?  Its simple, wholesome, and really is cost free because whatever you ‘lose’ of your time, you have gained a friend and companion.  Befriend a youth and you will help building them to becoming a successful adult.  Befriend an elder and you can give them someone to talk to and share their stories with.  Befriend a peer and who knows what skills you will learn!

My point is simple: Look Around.  Helping those in need doesnt need to be front page news and shouldnt be limited to emergency relief efforts “Over There”.  There are people in need in your backyard.  Please don’t forget to help them too.  It makes the world better for all of us in the end and takes, on the whole, very little for you to make a major impact.