Please don’t let the giving stop
A couple of weeks ago I penned a column asking people to give to the Summit Daily News’ Holiday Fund.Allow me a genuine heart-felt thank you to those who contributed to the fund. In all, with a couple of checks trickling in last week, nearly $19,000 was raised. That’s a record. In fact, it’s more than a 30 percent increase compared to last year – and that means a lot.What it means are groceries for families who might not otherwise stave off hunger. It means a visit from a nurse. It means help in finding a job. It means getting medicine that can keep someone not just healthy, but alive. And for a bunch of little children in Silverthorne it meant a Christmas present.Like I said, it means a lot, so as Elvis would say, “thankya … thankyaverymuch.”Having said that, I’m back begging again.
This time I’m asking on behalf of tsunami victims. I need to be honest about something.I was growing tired of reading, hearing and seeing news stories about the tsunami. Perhaps I’m the only one. I don’t know. But since late December it dominated newscast after newscast.That’s not to suggest it’s not an important story or to suggest that victims of perhaps the worst natural disaster in recent times don’t deserve news coverage. They damn sure deserve our thoughts, our prayers and our help.I’m simply pointing out that I was beginning to turn numb to it. That’s not a good thing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading, hearing or seeing in essence the same story retold over and over, day after day. Perhaps it’s because in the mountains of Colorado I’m so far removed from what is happening, literally, half a world away. I’ve never been to the subcontinent of Asia. There is no touchstone in my life to make what’s happened there more than just an abstract.I was troubled by the fact that such numbness can quickly lead to simply not caring at all.Then, two things happened.
I saw something on television that made me stop and think about my having become, well, a bit jaded. It was Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, Dubya’s Dad, standing side by side.At the request of the present president, the two former presidents are heading a nationwide fundraising campaign for relief of the South Asian earthquake and tsunami victims.These are not a pair of guys you’d describe as pals. Yet, regardless of what you think about their politics and regardless of what they think of each other’s politics (or morals for that matter), both are firmly grounded in the basic concept of private philanthropy as the heart and soul of American compassion. This wasn’t a case of politics making strange bedfellows. No, it was a case of genuine need making strange bedfellows.And the need is truly great. It’s reliably estimated that at least 5 million people are homeless. The death count has climbed beyond 150,000, and no one dares predict an end number.Last Tuesday, I visited the Summit County Rotary Club and listened to the deafening force of a moment of silence for tsunami victims. And I listened to Paul Siegert, on behalf of Rotary clubs from India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, ask for help.
This especially touched me. This wasn’t one more rebroadcast of the same camera footage from a resort in Sri Lanka. This was an individual talking about how a Rotary club in India is raising money for simple things like blankets and kerosene stoves.This was an individual helping me realize that no matter my creed, I must respond to human suffering no matter the creed of those suffering. I can’t think of a better way to do that than through Rotary, where the organization’s international foundation has pledged that every dollar collected will go to relief. For more information go to http://www.rotary.org. Anyone who wants to give should send money to the Summit Rotary Foundation Tsunami Relief, P.O. Box 415, Frisco 80443.And like I’ve said before, whether you give through Rotary doesn’t matter. What matters is that you give. What matters is that you help.Publisher Jim Morgan writes a Tuesday column.
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