Saturday, November 16, 2013

Worthwhile Things and Needs

How do you find worthwhile things and people to help?

I can't figure out how to answer this question. I hear about major, well known charities landing on the beach when a crisis happens, raising lots of money, helping some, and then heading out to the next high profile tragedy.  And, I've heard some stories recently of well known charities that really are just fund raising engines and perhaps are not doing the good that people think they are doing.

The Philippines typhoon is the latest example where you know nobody there and whatever dollars you give can never be followed up on to see if they really helped. One depends on a network of people who vouch for the good use of the dollars. The network might be several layers deep full of people you've never met and never will meet.

I can't figure out how to get the right help to the right people at the right time.

I wrote long ago about Making a Difference and that It Is Hard Out There and I've written about Community and recently I wrote about the struggle to figure out How do you decide where to give? But I don't have this problem figured out.

I do think you invest with people you know. Perhaps that is the answer. But then it likely means you help those who are close by. Not sure.

Maybe it is through local faith groups like churches. Some do a good job at finding those in need, validating their need and then quietly helping them. I think that is likely the right model. No publicity, but helping widows, orphans, the sick, the jobless, etc. The Christian message get so confused by those trying to manipulate the message but at its core, Jesus was deeply concerned and helped those who were broken, sick, lost and wounded. This is just so important, but it is hard to figure out how do this. And there are many who are just in turmoil, broken or have no hope and they need help too. Jesus touching the leper comes to mind.

I just pray for eyes to see the needs and then known what to do.

This is a confused post because I feel confused about it.


  1. If you are like me, you want to know where your money is going and that it's used for good. I do think if you start with people you know, you can be more confident in this. That doesn't mean that all your money has to stay nearby. If you know people who know people, and they know you are open to helping when there is a need, then it can get farther flung. For example, my daughter, who used to do mission work in Italy, knows another couple who did also. They know we have a heart for helping there, so when they hear of a specific need, such as helping with the youth summer Bible camp or young adult retreats, they contact me. And sometimes it is nearby. I know someone at City Rescue Mission and feel good about what they are doing to help not only the homeless but the near homeless get their lives back on track. In their Bridge to Life program, they teach them to fish, not just give them fish. Many people will give to well-publicized tragedies but don't give to other things. Those needs are great, but often they get more than they can even use (example, the Moore tornadoes). Lately I find myself seeking out the lesser known needs and opportunities. Ask God to show you where He wants you to help, and it's amazing what can happen. I did that the other morning and at lunch I found out about something that I had no idea about before that day. It doesn't always happen that quickly, but it takes my breath away when it does.

  2. I appreciate you putting so much thought into it. Don't have any answers for you, though! I know with tornado relief this spring, a couple from another state sent $$$$ gift cards to be given to a specific couple they knew were working on site. They wanted to make sure their donation was given directly to people in distress. I thought that was interesting but understand more and more how funds can be misused. I forgot to go back and comment about your last post but I appreciated the links as we are in a new situation and struggle sometimes to know how to connect with people.