Saturday, December 11, 2004

Giving Till It Doesn't Hurt-II

You know you’ve got it. Get your ass out of the mall, the Target, or that snarky little boutique head shop long enough to count your blessings, then send some of them where they will really make a difference.

Pt. 2--Children Matter Even After They're Born

(Being the second part of a multi-part gift guide for spreading joy and love.)

In a previous post, What You Do To The Least Of These, I touched on some of the cruelties human beings inflict on their children in other parts of the world, but you don't have to go that far to find kids living horrific lives. In Texas, that bastion of Bush's conservative compassion, the state is reaping some of the ghastly results of their aversion to taxes where, when faced with a choice between shoring up funding for child protection and increasing revenue, the good gentlemen of the legislature cut funding to the bone. It has taken a series of Grand Guignol horrors paraded in the media to shame these pitiful excuses for human beings into re-visiting the problem. No doubt that callousness does not attend their bottomless war on abortion, but then, these are real kids we're talking about, not legal persons like fetuses or 10-celled blastocysts.
In the meantime, children go hungry, and homeless, and without medical care here in the richest nation on earth. Here and abroad they are pimped out to pedophilic businessmen. They are enslaved on cocoa plantations and oriental rug-making sweatshops, and suffer unheard miseries in refugee camps and NAFTA hovels in the shadow of wealthy American factories. The problems are so great that it is estimated that a billion chidren suffer extreme deprivation across the world. UNICEF's most recent report lays out statistics that are heart-breaking.

But there are many, many decent organizations working to alleviate and eliminate these problems, both close to home and world-wide. Here, as with other human rights issues, a little research will put you into a position to choose the group you feel most sympatico with, and there are a couple good websites that make it easy to find out. The coalition Children's Charities offers a broad range of orgs, with a handy digest of basic info on each of its many members; the Just Give Guide, besides offering many links to children's orgs, also has a huge variety of other charitable categories to choose from, and lots of ideas on how to be of service over and above just giving money. And don't forget to check out the needs in your own community. Local churches, food banks, and domestic violence centers are all good sources of info.

Next: Part 3--Man-on-Dog Love

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