I don’t know what your last 18 months have been like, but mine was a mess. I have gone through a rollercoaster of emotion. It would have been one thing if we just had to deal with the pandemic, but we have had to deal with so much more: civil unrest, reckoning of racial injustice, insane election cycle, several natural disasters due in part to climate change, and tragic news from overseas. All of this has lead me to feel a bit helpless.
It’s a cycle of helplessness and guilt. I feel guilting that just because of where I was born I don’t have to face the struggles that others may face. I don’t have to flee my country to stay safe from cartels or famine. The plight of women + girls in Afghanistan is particularly weighing on my heart. It is deeply unfair that they will suffer simply based on their geography. I believe we were all born when + where we were meant to be, but that feels like such a privilege thought under the circumstances.
While I deal with the guilt + grief from the last year, one thing I can immediately do is support organizations that are helping those who are in need. If you’re feeling like me, I am highlighting five nonprofits below that I am proud to support this year!
Restore Corps – This local (Memphis) nonprofit is working to end human trafficking, support survivors, and seeking systematic change. They not only work with law enforcement + state legislature to change laws + protocols, but they also support survivors of human trafficking + educate the community. 30 million people worldwide live in slavery + this organization is working to help those in my area. You can support them in a variety of ways from donating money or items like clothes, gift cards, etc. You can also volunteer in numerous capacities + have a speaker come to your work, church, group, etc.
Team Rubicon – Not only are we currently dealing with wildfires out west but were also in the middle of hurricane seasons. Team Rubicon doesn’t just respond to natural disasters; they respond to natural disasters with a team of veterans. They build on the veterans’ training + deploy them to areas where they can help vulnerable communities. What I love about this is that it helps those in need, but also allows veterans to tap into that side of themselves that seeks purpose. The best way you can help them is to donate money to help them respond to current + future disasters.
Hope for Haiti – Haiti has dealt with major disasters for decades. They recently suffered a devastating earthquake that killed THOUSANDS. They were then hit by a tropical storm + all of this was on top of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope for Haiti doesn’t just help Haitians dealing with disasters – though that is the current need. They support them through educational initiatives, healthcare, infrastructure, and so much more. A child born in Haiti should have just as many opportunities as one born in Poughkeepsie. This organization is striving to do that.
Women for Women International – This nonprofit is one that I donated to just last week. The fall of Kabul really tugged at my heartstrings + I wanted to help. Women for Women helps female survivors of war and conflict rebuild their lives. Afghanistan is obviously a huge media story right now + Afghanis certainly need all the support we can give them. Their vision, which is to “create a world in which all women determine the course of their lives and reach their full potential” really speaks to me + the direction I want to leave the world.
Charity: Water – The issue of water access is one that I have cared about for a while. Lack of accessible water disproportionately affects women + their ability to contribute financially. Charity: Water wants to ensure that every person has access to clean water. This may seem like a non-issue but nearly 1-10 people do not have access to clean water. Proper access leads to more female empowerment, less disease, increased education, and stronger economies. In fact, $1 invested in water yields a $4-12 return. I heard founder Scott Harrison on Armchair Expert + he instantly had my support! Not only can you donate directly, but you can also create a birthday fundraiser + have your friends donate in your honor!
Hopefully one of these nonprofits speaks to your soul or at least inspires you to find a cause to support if you are able. If you don’t have the means, seek to share kindness with the world. We could all use a little more of it.
ETA: In wake of the damage done by Hurricane Ida, here are some nonprofits you can support to help with relief efforts: The Cajun Navy