The Unrelenting Season of Catastrophes

A few weeks ago we heralded the Helpers of Houston and pointed out how helpers benefit from assisting those in crisis through the release of the stress hormones that bring a sense of connection and reduces the body’s anti-inflammatory response helping to bring a sense of semblance to even the most difficult situation.

Since then, the crises have continued in Florida and just this past week across Puerto Rico. First responders and neighbors are pitching in and doing everything they can to get their communities back up and running. My friend, Jon Brillman, a neurologist in Fort Meyers stayed behind during Irma and among his other work helped move patient beds away from windows during the hurricane.

For those of us who are not nearby, opening our wallets seems like the next best thing. I was recently talking with a non-profit CEO who told me that everyone seems ready to line up to give to “catastrophic giving” when these kinds of crises occur but “sustainable giving” is much more challenging. Her agency serves tens of thousands of adolescents in need of adoption, behavioral health, and educational services but charitable giving is a bit more challenging since they lack the big news worthy event that catches everyone’s eyes.

Making 1-1 connections is a powerful way to give. Pope Francis recently told us that we could give money to panhandlers “without worry” He pointed out that we all have your own “panhandler policy” whether it is walking on or dropping a loose coin in their container. The Pope suggested that it is always good to give and that you should make that human connection by looking the person in the eye and touching his or her hand. That small extra effort is what makes the giving dignified for both parties.

It has been a challenging season and those in need. They need us and we need them.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2017

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