Don’t Forget to Help Nationally, Too

by Caleigh Farragher

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It is human nature to want to help the less fortunate. For years Americans have always wanted to share their freedom with others, especially those in impoverished and struggling nations.  We send food and other supplies to war-torn nations, donations to areas devastated by natural disasters like Japan and Haiti, and adopt children from around the world.

However, it sometimes seems like we forget to help ourselves.  The United States has always been a country of hope and freedom, but underneath the upper class areas are many poverty-stricken places. According to UNICEF, there are around 100,000 orphans in America and more to come with the recent tragedies down south.  No one seems to be eagerly lending out helping hands to adopt these children.

This inclination to help foreign nations has a lot to do with the media, and the constant coverage of celebrities aiding the less fortunate. Many celebrities use their status to show how they are helping others; more recently Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have been adopting children from countries such as Cambodia and Ethiopia.

Americans have a strong sense of pride and nationalism and love to share it with others. The only problem with this is that we do not always appear as eager to lend a helping hand to those struggling in our own country. In recent news, there have been floods and tornadoes down south. These tragedies will bring devastation to families and ruin lives. Hundreds of tornadoes have taken place, but there have been few commercials asking for help with immediate disaster relief.  In March when Japan suffered their devastating tsunami,  there were commercials, t-shirts, and other means to promote help in Japan.

A poster for Tom's Shoes

However, I am not trying to undermine the work done by those who have created or support these various organizations.  There are many that have my full support.   One in particular is an organization called Tom’s Shoes, run by Blake Mycoskie.  For every pair of shoes you purchase, a pair gets donated to third world country.  However, these children do not just receive shoes, but also opportunities such as education.

But, I wonder, why not take this to America?  There are kids who live without shoes in America, but no one is focusing on them.  These children may not suffer from the same barriers for education, but they do need shoes on their feet.

Let’s not forget, of course, the many organizations that do work with national disasters and problems, as well.  During hurricane Katrina in 2005 thousands of lives were devastated. Quick to help these people was Tide. The laundry detergent company that came and helped with one thing that many people take for granted; laundry; these people were able to focus on the bigger issues rather than trying to find clean clothes. Also there is the Red Cross which also responds to disaster relief in America.

While it’s good to help others and to support those countries that are perhaps less fortunate than ourselves, let’s not forget that those people in the United States who are struggling and suffering from disaster are just as deserving of our help.  Let’s remember that we can change the ways of the world, by helping those among us and those across the sea.

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