Interesting Article: On Well-Intentioned Gifts

A news story from NPR caught my eye this morning: it’s about how challenging it can be to match the generous good intentions of donors and volunteers with the on-the-ground needs of people in a disaster. It’s a problem I think about a lot: I wonder what the best way for us to help our community is in a way that’s both powerful and meaningful for our students but which will also have the greatest, most useful impact on the people we serve.

There’s a great line in it from the disaster relief after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which took place three years ago this week:

Among the donations that poured into the American Red Cross building after the earthquake in Haiti three years ago was a box of Frisbees. In a flood of well-intentioned but unneeded donations, this box stuck out to Meghan O’Hara, who oversees in-kind donations for the organization.

O’Hara says someone clearly wanted to help — they mailed the box from Germany — but all she could think was, “Wow. That $60 or $70 could have been sent to so many different organizations to help out in so many different ways, and now we have a box of Frisbees.”

Read more from the NPR website here: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/12/169198037/the-second-disaster-making-good-intentions-useful

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