Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: My Poverty Action Donation Challenge

Today is Blog Action Day, and the 2008 theme is poverty. You can read some of the thousands of participating posts on the Blog Action Day website.

As you've probably been noticing recently, global poverty is one of the issues that tugs at my heart, and I try to be an advocate for fighting poverty through the work of charities, through actions in my community, through organizations working around the world, through pushing our leaders to make and keep promises on these issues, and by blabbing to you all on a regular basis about how the dots connect in my life and our common life in this common world.

Why my harping? Because 26,000+ children die from poverty-related causes every single day, and many people don't give a shit. What's worse, to paraphrase the venerable Tony Campolo, some of you care more about the fact that I just said shit than about those 26,000 children.

I truly believe that looking out for those with less is the right thing for us all to do (see: Golden Rule, interconnected global economies and environment, etc.) and, more specifically for those of us who call ourselves Christians, caring for the poor is the best way we can reflect what Jesus was about, do what he told us to do, and really understand the heart of God. Why else those 2,000 verses about the poor, more than any other subject?

I don't believe there's any one right way to fight poverty, though. You may feel a desire to help in a different way than I do, and that's a good thing, because different actions help in different ways. Child sponsorship can't get a government to forgive another government's crushing debts, but political advocacy can't let a little girl know she matters enough that someone remembers her birthday. Some people and groups take care of wounds that are gushing right now, while others try to find the source and stop it. We need it all.

What can you give?
Even just a bit of empathy.

Here's what I will give back today:

For every comment on this post, I will donate $1 to Ethiopian Orphan Relief or our local SLR voucher program (donations split 50/50 -- and I suppose I must set some limit!). For every comment sharing what you are doing or will do to fight poverty, I will donate $2.

Will you write a letter to your sponsored child? Email your state representative? Take some extra food to the food bank? Repeat this same challenge on your own blog? Get involved in something, let me know, and watch my gift grow! Game ends Friday at midnight PST. The real challenge never ends.

Come back soon to read the story of my Ethiopian schoolgirl friend. She says so much more than I ever could.

Links for further inspiration:

"Being Poor" by John Scalzi
"Working Poor Problem Getting Worse" (MSNBC)
The Girl Effect (start with this sweet video)
"I Repent" (Holy Experience blog)
Blog Action Day 2008


Ren said...

I will be doing my part by donating a flock of ducks in Anna's name through Heifer International, thereby helping a less fortunate family obtain a sustainable source of food and income.

I count my blessings every day and the ability to do this is one of them.


paige said...

Wow Wendy

Thanks so much for contributing to EOR and for focusing on world poverty as often as you do.

Joining the board of EOR felt like the right choice for me--my heart remains in Ethiopia, the need is vast, and while I don't have a great deal of disposable cash on hand, I do have the gift of time to dedicate to winnowing cash away from others.

On the local level, while keeping my grocery bill in line is always a priority, I've made a commitment to remove an item (almost always something without significant nutrition) from the cart and then I spend the same amount on items for the food pantry--it's super easy, and I never miss the item (ok, sometimes, if it's icecream...). Albert and I have also made an effort to continue with plans we've made around the house (minor remodeling, etc) to support self-employed people who are feeling the pinch. We gain something, the contractor gains something, and for now, while we have a little extra, it seems important to share it.

WMW said...

Thanks Ren and Paige for kicking things off and the great ideas!

Others, don't feel like you have to say something specific--just say hi here and that's $1 in!

beatrice said...

thanks for donating! check

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy-

I often check your blog to see how baby Anna is doing. She is such a doll! Great idea for your blog.

Carrie(Lucy's mom)

Julie said...

Thanks for this important post. I participated in the blog action day as well.

heather.pnr said...

Saying hello to kick in my $1. :)

It's a small thing, but I'm picking up some extra canned goods for the food share barrel at our church this week.

Leena said...

I click on sites from this site everyday:
that give to charity, the most known one being and I'm planning to donate food to my local foodbank especially since with this economic crisis, people who used to give regularly can't afford to anymore.

Jenny said...

Thanks for the reminder to do this! I'm currently taking a simple approach making a concrete effort to cut down on food waste and generally consumption in general so we have more to give.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wendy!
I always love your family updates and value your opinion on political issues as well.


Nancy said...

Hi Wendy -

We took $5 from every t-shirt sale in July and donated the money to AHOPE to assist with their urgent food needs.

Currently we are donating 20% of our tote bag proceeds to support a seed project to benefit Ethiopian farmers (buy a tote bag!).

We are attending a children's concert this Sunday - donating a jar of peanut butter and jelly as part of the ticket price - that is raising money for a local hunger program.

We are also being conscientious to prepare our food at home and eat out less and share what we have with friends.

JEM said...

Count me in. I will double your donation to both charities as well as bring an extra big bag of groceries for Foodshare on Nov2nd. Thanks as always for expressing your passion and reminding us of the big picture!

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

yay for you! I am over via paige and I will donate some more food to the nearby food pantry! xo

Anonymous said...

Hi Hon, Mom will double your donation amount, along w/NKSC & Hope's collection. love you!

Amy said...

Woohoo! A buck for me!