Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Helping Provide Famine Relief

The UN has declared a famine now exists in southern Somalia. It’s merely a change in nomenclature, but will hopefully highlight the issue of world hunger and the desperate need in Somalia and other nations.

Somalia is like the Wild West of the modern world. It is largely a lawless nation where the government has little power or control compared to the warlords and other groups fighting for control. There’s human trafficking, arms dealing, drug smuggling, piracy, and the like. Millions suffer because of the lawless state of the country.

This country is a difficult one to bring aid to. Non-governmental organizations are threatened and kicked out. The whole Blackhawk Down operation occurred in the context of the famine and war. Providing aid is difficult because the warring factions know they have power over people who are hungry.

When these types of stories come over the television and news stations, we want to provide for the need. And we should. Not all organizations are equal. Not all donations are helpful. Before you “sponsor a child” or “text to save a life,” I suggest doing a little bit of research to know that your dollar is making the greatest impact. I reviewed a very helpful book called When Helping Hurts that will really aid you in thinking through your giving and help you make wise decisions in where and how to help.

For the meantime, I can suggest two funds that give 100% of monies raised to community development and hunger relief. They can do this because the workers are funded by Southern Baptists. That means whether you are a Southern Baptist or not, you can be sure 100% of every dollar you give is going to those who need it most. I don’t know for sure if they’re currently working in the famine areas of Somalia, since many organizations have been kicked out, but there are other regions of the world that are hurting too.

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