That afternoon for nap time I finally got some quiet time to cross off some of the things on my to do list. One of those items was researching refugees, aid, and volunteering after being inspired by my church's call to action last Saturday night (view it here). I was seriously humbled. And depressed, and sad, and moved to tears. And frustrated. Frustrated with myself and my preoccupation with such trivial first world problems like "the perfect backsplash" and "children putting their shoes on when you ask them to" when there are people without a place to live, food to eat, personal safety, parents, siblings, medical care...the list could go on. Frustrated with people who put them in this situation. Frustrated with people who refuse to help out of fear. Frustrated that I am not capable to do more.
I spent a while researching local refugee non-profits in my city and there are lots of opportunities to volunteer. In fact there is a 6 month waiting list to volunteer at one of the organizations here in Jacksonville. I work with our church youth ministry and we will certainly be taking advantage of group volunteer opportunities, but volunteering significant time up in Jacksonville with two little ones at home isn't very feasible for me right now. What could I do? How could I make a difference?
The answer came to my thoughts: "What about your store? You could donate your income from there."
It's a thought I can't push away. So here is my pledge--I will donate 100% of my profits for the month of April to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (profit is total price minus fees and expenses). I will come up with an established percentage to donate after that. It's not much, but it's something I can do. I want everyone to clearly understand that I am not doing this to get more sales or a tax break. I'm not doing this to get praise or recognition. I am doing this because people need help, and this is a way that I can help right now. Because if not me, then who?
I encourage you to look up your local refugee relief organizations to see how you can help. Or you can donate directly to one of these excellent non-profit organizations:
United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund
The Red Cross
Catholic Relief Services
Do any of you have experience helping refugees? Have you come up with creative ways to help?