Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.” Proverbs 3:27 – The Message
When disaster strikes, who responds?
The volcano named Fuego (fire) is visible from much of the area in and around San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala where my husband and I have worked for many years, but it is too far away to pose a danger to the town itself. A large majority of the people in that area live in poverty while about a third of those live under conditions of extreme poverty.
A few weeks after the initial eruption of Fuego a local friend there wrote that, “The immediate reaction of the people after the tragedy was one of solidarity. . . as always happens, the poor people gave from their little, not expecting the government to do anything.”
There is something about an environmental tragedy, no matter where it is, that touches the hearts of all of us and loosens purse strings. The ease with which we can make donations on the internet or with our cell phones provides options for small gifts of $10 and $20 that would not be made otherwise. Gifts of all sizes fuel recoveries from fires and tornadoes, from tsunamis and hurricanes, from floods and droughts.
Americans have always responded by helping in any way they can with clean ups from disasters, opening their homes to the homeless, feeding emergency workers and displaced families, refurbishing homes when they can and helping rebuild when they can’t. Are their efforts appreciated? Yes: more than you probably realize.
We experienced that ourselves working in New Orleans with a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance team after Hurricane Katrina. Our last night there the other patrons of a restaurant stood and gave us a round of applause when it was announced what we had been doing. And as we were boarding our flight home, the ticket agent spotted our Katrina Relief t-shirts, closed the boarding line and chased after us down the jet way and onto the plane to thank us himself for helping his city out.
With unprecedented wildfires in California and the Pacific Northwest, tornadoes in the south and Midwest, flooding in the east, and hurricane victims still struggling to recover from last year’s disasters, there are countless ways that each of us can make a difference in this country and beyond with our dollars, our time, our skills and our energy.
How much will you give today and where will you volunteer to help?
Blessings on your efforts to be God’s hands and feet in the world,