Monday, March 03, 2008

Am I a rotten person?

I'm sitting here watching Opr.ah of all things. Drew Barrymore is on, (who I love) and she is talking about the World Food Programme where they give money for food programs for kids in Africa. I'm all for helping others, I really am. Drew Barrymore gave 1 million dollars of her own money to this program. Here's my problem with all of this, and judge me if you will. But if there are kids all around you going hungry, which is a problem everywhere, why would you give all your support to another country? Now, before everyone gets up in arms, let me explain my point. There are many places in Canada where kids to go school, go all day and then go to bed hungry. There are many programs here in Canada to help combat this. If I was a multi-millionaire like Ms. Drew, I personally would look to help those around me before/while looking further over the horizon. If everyone in that position did this, we would all live in a better place and there would not be the child hunger crisis we have right now. Now, I'm not saying that organizations like World Food Programme are wrong for supporting 3rd world nations, I think it's fabulous. I just feel that sometimes more emphasis seems to be put on helping other children and not helping our own.

7 comments:

Kennie said...

You're not a rotten person. I think the same thing. I see so many kids here who get maybe their only meal of the day through the school breakfast program.... and that only goes on during weekdays... have no idea what they do on the weekends. Many times, I"ll pack a couple of extra oranges and handi-snacks to give to the kids that I know didn't get lunch.

I think it's great that people want to help overseas ... but I also think that we should also remember to help those within our own country, town and community.

Valentina said...

I agree with you 100%, Tina! Here is a comment from someone who wanted to become a missionary when she was 8 years old (!!!)... I think that it is great for this kind of organizations to exist, but children don't go hungry only in Africa, that's the bare truth... You know what the real issue is, in my opinion? It sells to see and read that a celebrity helped "those poor African children". It is quite a scoop to see, let's say, Ms. Jolie - Pitt amongst a group of underfed, barely dressed African children, but would the picture sell as much if she was standing amongst, let's say, our nextdoor neighbour's children who went to bed hungry for yet another night? Also, it is much "easier" to think these problems touch only people far away... the truth is very uncomfortable.

Kellie said...

I completely agree, charity must first start at home.

Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

I am with you on that one! We always donate money and such to the community we are living in, and not to other countries!

Tawny said...

I think there's a number of reasons why people are inclined to send their money overseas rather than putting the money back into their community.

I'd think a major reason is because a large donation will go farther in a third world country. If you consider that half the world's population still lives on less than $2 a day, imagine how many people a million dollars would help. In Toronto, the City pays shelters anywhere between $30-$70+ per person that they shelter and that covers just their basic needs. A million dollars would go a lot less farther here than there.

There's also the issue of the opportunity that exists at home that doesn't exist in third world countries. Yes, we have children that go to school hungry and some of them eat as part of a breakfast program, but the important thing here is that they go to school. Millions of children in poor countries don't. They would never have the same opportunities, would never get the education to rise above their poverty levels, if big name celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Angelina didn't give big chunks of money.

We take a lot of things for granted - our schools and our laws and our government and our health care to the basic things like clean drinking water. The global poverty crisis is extremely serious and needs some serious attention - can you imagine living on less than $2 a day?

Personally, I would rather send my money overseas where it will have the most impact and in turn, donate my time and skills here where I know it will have a MUCH bigger impact.

kellie said...

How can we trust that the money goes to the children? I think that most organizations are a front for money scams and laundering. I watched an expose on these organizations on W5. I wouldn't trust them at all.

Rob, Tina and the boys said...

Thank you everyone for your opinions. This is obviously a very big issue. I don't know if I 100% agree with Kellie, there are scams involved with everything. I am sure there are very many charities that are legitimiate and send as much as possible to the children, some as much as 95%. I would personally fully research any charity prior to donating for that reason. Unfortunately a bad few puts a bad name on all of them. And I agree with Tawny that a large donation would definately help more people / children in a poverty stricken country, that goes without saying. With that being said, I PERSONALLY would rather help fewer people if I knew that money was going in my community, helping the children I see go hungry everyday. I have never been exposed to it in the way that I am living where I am now. That is why I feel so strongly about it. I am living in a situation where I am seeing it first hand on a daily basis because it is such a small community. If I was in the position where I had extra funds to donate a large donation, I would donate at least 50% to my local community and then make a dontation to a 3rd world poverty stricken country. I do truly believe we should all be contributing to ending world hunger, please don't think that I am saying help only ourselves and not anyone else. I again just feel that a lot of emphasis right now in the media is focusing on poverty stricken countries and not looking around locally. (As a side note, I am currently baking a banana bread to take to the elders that spend their time at our store. Supporting your community doesn't always have to be monetary)