Friday, May 9, 2008

Weekend Spotlight

Here’s your Weekend Mitzvah round-up:

A food drive that picks up at your house: Don’t forget: Leave food donations in a bag next to your mailbox for the Saturday, May 10 Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

A hat tip to Skeet’s Stuff, which included Daily Mitzvah in its Sharing the Good Stuff Thursday post this week. Mahalo, Skeet!

Burma update #1: Agencies that are already in-country: Many of us have seen today’s headlines about the military government in Burma confiscating UN food aid, including supplies that would have fed and provided medical care for 95,000 people. The UN and the U.S. have decided to continue aid flights into the country, despite the Burmese government’s absurd obstructionist tactics. The situation presents a challenge for donors. I’m trying to focus on aid agencies that already had a presence in Burma before Cyclone Nargis, since they have at least a tenuous working relationship with the very dysfunctional government. World Vision has an established presence in-country, according to their web site: a 40-year continuous presence in the country and more than 500 staff on the ground even before the cyclone. Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders has 40 international staff and 1200 international workers already on the ground in Burma. Read an update of their activities here. Since it’s almost impossible to get new aid workers in at present, it’s worth checking out these two groups that are already in the country. (Photo © 2008 Agence France-Presse)

Burma Update #2: UW Credit Union hat-tip: The Myanmar Red Cross/Red Crescent Society is also long established in Burma. My terrific credit union just made Red Cross contributions easier (via the American Red Cross), by providing an link that allows a direct contribution right out of one’s checking or savings account, without any fuss or extra paperwork (must be logged in to Web Branch to access). They typically set this up for Christmastime charities. But I wanted to give a shout-out for this quick and creative response to the current humanitarian crisis. Google is also helping with a donation link right under their search box, facilitating contributions to UNICEF and Direct Relief International.

Weekend Mitzvah: Leave some canned food for the mail carrier on Saturday, and keep en eye on the Cyclone Nargis response to see where we can help.

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