A former Microsoft executive is building hundreds of libraries in Africa. A group of dentists are volunteering services in Mexico. An outdoor recreation company is shipping dozens of tents to hurricane-ravaged areas in Southeast Asia. It all sounds benevolent.
What about the families who lost their homes in foreclosure? Or the children who don’t qualify for Healthy Families or Medical because the single parent makes a few dollars over the financial limit? And what happens to the emancipating 18-year-old growing up in foster care who had a minor infraction and can’t move into transitional housing?
We all make choices re donating time and money but the images from abroad tug at Americans with rapid fire response faster than portraits of friends and neighbors in dire circumstances.
The holidays are upon us with food and clothing drives for the needy. Outside every Starbuck’s and restaurant someone is rattling coins in a paper cup. Do we turn away from disheveled, sour-smelling folks sitting on the sidewalk because it’s easier to send a gift to a faceless man, woman or child? I don’t have the answer. Do you?