Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 9: Many Efforts, Few Results

Well, I don't know if any of my efforts today amounted to much, but I had some interesting experiences. This was one of the days when I had to actually drive into work, rather than work from home, and I kept a vigilant watch for people in need. In fact, I found a couple, but they ended up already having things well in hand.

Roadside Assistance
I stopped twice by the side of the road to help people who were off on the shoulder. Once on the way into work in the morning, once on the way out in the afternoon. (Different cars, of course.) I saw a couple of other people who appeared to be having car trouble, but I was in the wrong lane, and couldn't get over in time to stop before being well past them. It's 40 Days of Giving, after all, not 40 Days of Reckless Driving.

Unfortunately, neither effort turned into an actual opportunity to help. The first woman said that her sister was on the way, but she thanked me very much for stopping. The woman in the afternoon car had also already called for help and was waiting on a gas tank.

Cellphones really cut out the opportunity for good Samaritan activities.

Other Activities
I signed up for the One Campaign, so I'll begin getting news from Bono's charity to help alleviate international famine, disease, and poverty.

In addition, I earned 5,000 grains of rice. I also dug around a bit more on the FreeRice.org website, and discovered some disturbing statistics - the United States only gives 18 cents of every 100 dollars in international aid, tying for last place with Japan. This is only 0.18%! Appalling!

(In fairness, I'm not sure what is counted in this statistic. Does this include money given by religious organizations toward international missionary work and funding churches in these regions, which support their local communities? However, even the best estimate I've heard of religious giving places it at about 1.8%, and certainly the majority of that stays in the United States.)

According to the One Campaign website, Obama's recent budget is making some good steps in the right direction, but still has a way to go. So I went and printed out this letter, which I'll send to the White House. If you believe we should be doing more, you should look into this as well.

Finally, I offered up some help to local city officials who are trying to get a major infrastructure investment in my hometown to improve the internet connectivity through the new Google Fiber plan. I may have to try to look into some innovative ways to get the word out on this, as it would be a major boon to our community ... which needs it, after all of the industry we've had abandon the town in recent years.

Tomorrow, the giving fund coffers fill up, and then things should get really interesting.