Sunday, September 21, 2008

Celebrities visiting Haiti

I appreciate it. I really, really do. As you know the Haitians are near and dear to my heart and I hate seeing their suffering.

But please do not go unless you also bring along with you supplies. Even a modest car load of supplies can make a huge difference. In other words, stock the kitchens, don't just "raise awareness."

When I sponsored Native American children and visited them in their homes, my husband and I always stopped at the grocery store on the way there and loaded up the rental car with food and toys for the children, and things for the bathroom. In other words, we stocked up and brought a full vehicle. Celebrities can and should do the same. Your luggage should be food and necessities, and you empty it out at the place that you visit. THAT is setting an example and trust me, even a modest amount of food is a God send to the people who have nothing.

I remember that absolute delight that my friends (family of nine at the time) had when one of our bags contained a giant jar of peanut butter. They had not had their own jar of peanut butter in the home in something like a year. When we brought milk it was the first milk they had for all seven of the children that was not saved for just the youngest to have, or obtained during the school lunch programs. One bag of groceries can provide incredible help to even a family of nine.

The days of the stupid "awareness raising" and "concerts for blah blah blah" are over. People are in trouble everywhere and sliding backwards in receiving assistance. It is time for people to be grassroots in their assistance. People who can afford to go to Haiti on good will visits should also be bringing supplies with them, just as was done in the early progressive days of charity and disaster relief. That is how it used to be done until the larger relief arrives and the systemic problems that cause the disaster can be addressed on a comprehensive level.

If the celebrities discretely left cash donations, not seeking publicity, more power to them and God will see and know. But they also need to teach the public how to help when institutional and large scale "fund raising" fails. If celebrities were "Martha Stewart" to the church food and supplies pantry for the day or week that they arrive, it has an enormous ripple effect.

So I thank you again for your concern that I know is genuine, and for your behind the scenes generosity where it occurs, but you must also be role models of modest scale "home making" for these desperate people. Stop waiting for the "big rescue" and "big projects." Fill up your stupid Hummers, rental cars, helicopter, plane, boat or whatever transport you used to get there with food and supplies, just as if you were visiting a huge family or clan in desperate need. You think that feeding a hundred people for a week is not large or good enough for you? Think again.