Folks, I don't normally do this.
But the fact remains that we can't ignore the suffering of our fellow humans.
Flooding ravaged parts of my home town in 1972. Ever since, I've known what a real disaster is.
I was down for two weeks rebuilding people's homes after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The last part of the second week consisted of being on the crew that just found the folks that were reported as needing help, but who couldn't be found by other relief agencies for various reasons.
During and after Katrina, I was working (mostly in vain) with railroads and rail equipment owners to marshal rail equipment to where it could do the most good in the South. (Mostly, we got a royal bureaucratic runaround.)
Aster the Indonesian tidal wave, I organized a charity beer auction, raising over $2,000 if memory serves right.
And now, Haiti.
Throw aside all the politics, the social analysis, the recession we're supposedly in. This is real. It's not the victims' fault. They need help. People are dying, and perhaps condemned to die, because there isn't enough water, or medicine, or food, or access to medical care.
We can't all go down there and pick apart rubble. Hell, most of us wouldn't be able to do a damned thing except hug a bereaved soul. But there are people, and agencies, and countries down there doing the best they can under trying circumstances to assist. And it's up to us to support them however we can. We have to have their backs--otherwise, they really can't do it, after all.
It's a tired cliche, but really, money is the fastest way to do it. Everyone wants to send their old towels or clothes, or cans of food, or bottles of water. It's faster, and FAR more cost-effective (you can't ship pallets of water or medicine by electronic transfer) to just donate money to appropriate, vested relief agencies--the International Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Doctors Without Borders, and so forth. (International Medical Corps issued me a personal plea. I checked them out, and so should you.) Wal-Mart coughed up a half-million on the spot, with more to come in the form of goods being sent from the warehouses. Ditto Target--the mega-store closest to my place. Yes, yes, as usual these agencies are spending what they have NOW and taking your money for the next disaster. Sometimes that's the only way it can work.
I walked through two liquor stores a bit thirsty today. I just couldn't do it. Not out of overriding guilt or lack of choices, mind you--I just couldn't bring myself to spend during that suffering. It just didn't feel right. I came home, opened a homebrew, and kept up with the news. And made a donation--the money I would have spent today on beer.
Folks, I ask you: buy two beers for Haiti. Take what you could have spent on a beer or two tomorrow, or this weekend had the Ravens made the finals, and send it to Haiti instead. Find a charity that deserves your money, affirm that they are reputable and actually spend their money on relief and not additional fundraising, and donate two beers of your choice. Or the cost of beer you would have bought had the Ravens made the Super Bowl.
Breweries and bar owners, I challenge you: Pass the hat or bucket if you can. Dedicate the proceeds from a keg to a relief agency. Hold a raffle. Whatever you do, do it once, quick, now, and get it over with before we're as sick of hearing about it as we are of the latest round of "Celtic Tenor Women" or "Lord of the Prance" during the next blasted Maryland Public TV beg-a-thon.
Thank you for your support. We will resume normal blogging shortly......