I have been thinking a lot about the disaster relief effort for Hurricane Harvey and how to make a difference. There is a number to text message and $10.00 is automatically donated to the American Red Cross. I am breaking my rule about not sending any money to the American Red Cross considering that I always felt that donating my blood and platelets on a regular basis is more than enough. The American Red Cross has also been sensible enough not to push the envelope and ask their regular blood donors for money on top of their vital bodily fluids. Like many individuals, I also do not have a ton of money to send to good causes, but try to give back in other ways. For example, one of my latest adventures is picking up litter at the Albany CDTA bus stops in hopes of making an impact in the community and encouraging a lot more public support for my agency, Living Resources, Inc. For those affected by the nightmare of Hurricane Harvey I wonder if anything is enough.
A lot of us feel impotent with regards to helping. We watch it on television and may feel guilty that we are sitting in our comfortable homes, which are not ravaged by natural disasters. The most we can do is send a few dollars to assist a region that is plagued by a natural catastrophe and nothing seems to have changed just because we make a ten dollars contribution to the American Red Cross. On my To-Do List I have made it a priority to send $10.00 through the mail to the American Red Cross simply because it is the best I can possibly do right now.
Many Americans are not in the position to fly out to Texas in order to pick up debris and help evacuate individuals from their homes that are significantly damaged or completely destroyed. Or our generosity only goes so far. There is this thing called “Vacation Time,” in which companies give their employees at least one week in which they are allowed to forget about being chained to a job forty hours all other weeks out of the year. If employees have enough vacation time then it is definitely a possibility to use that resource and make a tiny dent in the crisis within Hurricane Harvey. Most people think about doing this, but probably will not.
There is an old expression, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” After performing research on these words, I came to an understanding that this does not always mean someone who creates “evil” thinking they are doing something good. It can also refer to those who want to help in the most beautiful ways possible, although they lack the proper resources and end up making promises that are impossible to keep. They end up feeling terrible and others sometimes suffer, too.
One idea is that companies could give their employees a standard 1-2 weeks for vacation as well as the option of a Humanitarian Week. The Humanitarian Week would allow them to leave work for a solid week and they would still be paid while being allowed to make a contribution in a place affected by a flood or some other crisis in which volunteers are desperately needed. Of course, there will always be those token employees who abuse the privilege and tell their employers that they are helping orphans learn how to read when they are really at Club Med. But as someone once said to me, “If they are able to live with it then so can I.”
Even if you are unable to travel to Houston, Texas I would like you to think about some way over the next six months that you can make the difference. There are some “Dreamers” in Texas who learned they have lost their home and may be forced out of the country…in the span of two weeks! While I am not picking up debris in Houston, I have drafted a press release to protest this decision in a very unique way and will see what happens if my awesome publicist sends it out to the national media, which is the plan by the end of this week.