Travel is great. We see all the beautiful Instagrams from digital nomads and self-proclaimed tastemakers and know that the world is a gorgeous place. And then, Hurricane Harvey (or Sandy or Katrina or some coward with an exploding truck- machete-gun-or just some asshole with the title of President) ruins that for us.
Some days I feel like my fragile soul will wither away to ash if I have to read about one more disaster, terror incident, or display of incivility. I know firsthand how glorious the world is, even the world of my own backyard, but there are days when I feel overwhelmed by the ugliness around us. What are we to do in the face of all this?
Lifting others up raises your own spirits. I promise.
Well, never one to sit around (for too long) and wallow. I like to take action. Action to make my world better and help my fellow beings (man, woman, animal, plant, etc) on this planet. Action to snap me out of my self-indulgent pity party.
Action can mean many things, so let’s get to some examples of action you can take.
If you have money to spare, donate it to any of the worthy organizations. Incidentally, even if I don’t share the theological beliefs of some of the organizations, I can still support their efforts to help. These are listed in order of crisis-specific aid relative to Hurricane Harvey, but all are worthwhile and ethical organizations around the world who need your help all year round.
- American Red Cross
- The Humane Society of the United States
- Mercy Corps
- The Salvation Army
- World Health Organization
- Doctors Without Borders
- Heifer International
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
If you can’t afford to give money you can donate your gently used items to worthwhile charities like many of the above, and:
- Dress for Success
- World Computer Exchange
- Your local church, school, or library
- Even some animal charities, like BoxerLuv ,have thrift stores
If you have nothing to give, give your time to others by volunteering. You can choose to clean up the neighborhood, help build a home, read to those who can’t, teach others, and more. The human connection is necessary and volunteering is one way of making the world seem a bit brighter. You don’t always have to devote your time to a formal organization. Individual efforts like cleaning up trash, or mowing your elderly neighbors lawn make a difference. If you want to volunteer with an organization, those listed below always need dedicated volunteers.
- Habitat for Humanity Global Village
- The Peace Corp
- UN (as in United Nations) Volunteers
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
The list goes on! Sites like VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to start at a local level. The point is that everyone of us, over age 6 can do something good for others. Even if you quietly walk through your neighborhood park picking up trash and disposing of it properly, you are contributing to the good of others. It is easy and, I think, it is necessary to the care and feeding of your sanity and your heart. A little action goes a long way and making just one person’s life better can make your world a better place.
My thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey and I applaud the efforts of all those agencies on the ground, as well as the quiet, unphotographed acts of heroism I am sure are happening between neighbors.
What do you think? Are there any actions above that you think you can do? What advice do you have for people who wonder how to make a dark (at times) world a little brighter? Let me know in the comments and thank you for reading.
If you want more information on how to help and other organizations that you can help, click here to read a good article from the New York Times.