Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Community Disaster - giving or not, and how and how much??

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Community Disaster - giving or not, and how and how much??

    Another terrible fire has struck my community and once again, several friends and coworkers are affected either by total loss of their home, damage or at least evacuation. I live in Colorado Springs (the fire I'm referring to is the Black Forest Fire)

    My home is fine. At the end of my day, I can go to my home, with my family and animals and all my "stuff".

    I feel terrible.

    I want to give back, particularly to my friends and coworkers. To the point I'm willing to charge up all my credit cards to help these people out. I had to seriously stop myself today from just going to the department store and buying new blankets, towels, housewares, etc. I know how stupid that is. After the fire last year (Waldo Canyon, which also affected several friends and coworkers), I gave kind of blindly. I want to help, but I want to be smarter about it.

    I've been very aggressively saving and paying down debt. My significant other and I make more than enough money per month to pay all the bills, pay extra towards debt and put some money aside for emergency savings, and still spend kind of stupidly sometimes anyway (eating out/entertainment mostly, although we are doing a heck of a lot better).

    Anyway, all my problems seem insignificant right now. I still have my home, my family, my pets, my "stuff".

    My question is: how do I alter my plan for a short period to help my community?? Should I give a percentage? Or designate a particular amount, and if so how do I decide what amount to give?

    And frankly, how do I get over the thought that I'm being terribly selfish by even asking this question, when so many people can't even go HOME tonight??

    #2
    Originally posted by reedda View Post
    I had to seriously stop myself today from just going to the department store and buying new blankets, towels, housewares, etc.
    OK, I have to be more honest here. My SO stopped me. I totally would have done it, but he was going to murder me.

    Comment


      #3
      I think it's a completely reasonable question. I had the same dilemma after Hurricane Sandy. What I did was just volunteer my time instead. Of course, I'm a grad student so giving money wasn't really an option. But I would still highly recommend it as an alternative and maybe just buy some of the essentials for your closest friends.

      Comment


        #4
        I understand your feeling as I have experienced several major disasters through the years. While the instinct is to give a lot now because the tragedy is so close staring you in the face each day, the reality is that the long term is much more important. A few weeks or months from now the event will be mostly out of the news with donations drying up and those families still struggling in many ways. Taking a long-term outlook and making a plan of how you can help over the next year really is the most considerate thing that you can do in my opinion.

        Comment


          #5
          I'd see what you could donate from your home (clothing and household items). I sent bags of clothing to New Orleans after Katrina, for example (& it was extremely appreciated to those who had lost everything).

          See if there is any *time* you can donate instead. For example, organizing some kind of used goods drive to help those in need. (A friend of mine had done this after Katrina - simply asking friends what they could help with. We live in California, but they had friends or family there and so drove out with supplies and clothing. It does not have to be a big endeavor to make a big difference).

          AS far as not running up the credit cards, it doesn't do people any good to help them in ways you are not financially able to help them. I have personally never been a big cash donate-er. I have watched so many friends and family go bankrupt over their giving habits. It's really stupid. Then everyone has to take care of them financially. You see it is far more helpful to help people in ways you can sustainably give, so that you can continue to pay it forward. At this stage in my life we don't give much cash, but we donate a lot of our time. The interesting thing is it feels so much more rewarding than just writing checks.

          Comment


            #6
            What a great question, and one that I don't really think has come up here before.

            As the old saying goes, charity begins at home. You can't help others unless you are on stable ground yourself. You don't say how much debt you are dealing with but it sounds like you've got a handle on it and are on track to repay it. If that's the case, I'd see nothing wrong (if BOTH of you agree) with slowing down the repayment temporarily to make a donation toward immediate charitable needs. Maybe it means you get debt-free a few months later but you'll feel good about it now.

            I wouldn't dip into your emergency fund because this isn't your emergency. And I certainly wouldn't take on any new debt. What I would be doing is making a trip to the local thrift shops and stocking up on blankets and clothing and whatever else they are asking for folks to donate. That way you get the biggest bang for your buck.

            Or maybe you just add a line item in your budget for disaster relief and send a check every month to the Red Cross or whatever organization you choose. That way you help now but also continue to help going forward.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


              #7
              Ask your friends and co-workers what they need most. Offer help which you think you can handle and that will do them some good. They may not need blankets, they may need something else.

              You can also offer time and services. Such as babysitting if they need to clean up house damage (which I imagine would be extremely hard with a toddler) or come and help them on a weekend. Just listen, and you might find a specific and meaningful way to help few specific people without spending thousands of dollars.

              Comment


                #8
                Great suggestions, thank you so much. I took a breather overnight while I thought this through and waited for more rational minds to weigh in

                What I did was just volunteer my time instead.
                You can also offer time and services. Such as babysitting if they need to clean up house damage (which I imagine would be extremely hard with a toddler) or come and help them on a weekend.
                This especially!

                Taking a long-term outlook and making a plan of how you can help over the next year really is the most considerate thing that you can do in my opinion.
                This didn't cross my mind, although it should have, because of the Waldo Canyon fire last year. Some people I know are still struggling though their losses, problems with insurance companies (the a-holes, excuse my language), etc. I'll keep this in mind.

                I'd see what you could donate from your home (clothing and household items)
                This is a really great idea. I have more than enough stuff.

                I'd see nothing wrong (if BOTH of you agree) with slowing down the repayment temporarily to make a donation toward immediate charitable needs
                And this too, but as I said I want to be smart about it. I've donated a small amount to our local Care and Share so far. My SO would rather I didn't donate money at all, frankly. He'd be happy with donating time and REALLY happy with giving away household stuff we don't need. He thinks I have too much stuff! (Of course, *I* have too much stuff, but he doesn't )

                Ask your friends and co-workers what they need most.
                I have, this year and after Waldo Canyon last year, some have just said "thank you, but we're ok" and act GUILTY as though they're begging or something.

                So the more I think about it, time and services is probably the best way to go.

                Thanks again!

                Comment

                Working...
                X