Thinking Out Loud

August 5, 2011

How Not To Exploit a Famine

Last night my wife and I went on the website of Compassion Canada to make a donation to the famine crisis in the horn of Africa.  Instead we were met with a message that said that while Compassion is active in the countries affected, they are not working in the areas hardest hit by the famine.  Instead, they gave the names of three other charities.  It was late, and we haven’t yet followed up with those three, but I was so impressed I made a small donation to Compassion anyway, simply because I was awed by their honesty and integrity.  Below is the actual text, and for my USA readers, here’s the link to Compassion USA.

…Although Compassion does not work in Somalia, we do work in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, each affected by the drought to some degree. However, Compassion does not work in the specific areas that are most impacted, such as Southeastern Ethiopia and Northeastern Kenya. 

Compassion’s ministry is focused on long-term child development, rather than on relief. Our programs protect our children and families to a very great extent against the crippling impact of famine and drought. Therefore, our response to the terrible drought in East Africa is long-term recovery in the areas where we work, rather than immediate relief. Because we are not responding to this crisis with immediate relief, we cannot participate in the Government Matching Program.

…If you have a heart to give immediate relief to those suffering in the worst-hit areas, please consider giving to trusted organizations that are positioned to respond immediately to these pressing needs, such as: World ReliefChristian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) or Food for the Hungry.

You don’t see that sort of thing every day.  Most organizations want to keep you captive on their website.  Most impressive.  Then today, I ran across this item which also has a Compassion connection.  Trey Morgan blogged this last week under the title, Just How Rich Am I?   It’s short, and when you get to the link, I want you guys to click, okay?

Want some very challenging reading today? I’d love to challenge your thinking for just a moment on how wealthy you and I are.   I’m not here to make you feel guilty, but you may … because I did.

We, as Americans don’t always understand what real poverty is.  A new study by the US Census Bureau shows that of the 30 million in the US who live in poverty still are well housed, have adequate supply of food and have medical care.  The study shows that the typical household, defined as poor by our country, had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the average poor household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation.  In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.

I’m not down on the poor in America, we’re are all very blessed to live in this country. I’m also NOT saying that there are not some really poor people and homeless people in our country … BUT I AM SAYING that if we only look at poverty in our own country, we’ll never quite understand how the poorest of the poor in our world really live.

Did you know that today 30,000 children will die from starvation? Think about it this way, 30,000 children dying of starvation every day is like six September 11th’s … every day.

Compassion International has created a website called “Who Are the Joneses?” to bring about a better understanding of poverty in America — and then place that knowledge into a global perspective. So, my challenge to you today is see how the poor really live in the world by spending a few minutes on this website …

“Who Are the Jones?”

It’ll only take a couple minutes of your time. So, you up for the challenge?

Trey Morgan


  1. My daughter is a volunteer with Compassion International and her challenge has been the difficulty in impressing upon people about the stark differences between their lives and the lives of multitudes. And moving prayers from “God help them” to “God help me to help them”.

    I put the link to this eye opening project on my facebook page.
    Thank you for alerting me to it.

    Comment by Cynthia — August 5, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  2. […] our charity diversion two nights ago, we ended up making our Africa Drought donation to Partners International.  This is the […]

    Pingback by Partnering With Partners « Thinking Out Loud — August 6, 2011 @ 7:46 am

  3. […] a message on their website directing donations to other worthy organizations.The full blog post is here.  I encourage you to read it,and other blog posts from Paul.TTFNShare| Compassion,General […]

    Pingback by Kudos to Compassion « Murray's Musings — August 15, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  4. I had three children I sponsored through Compassion but one just graduated from the program. I want to say how impressed I am with the work Compassion does to not only help out these children with their physical needs but to also know the love of Christ. I also sponsor two children with another group who recently took “Christian” from their title. They said they could do more by changing their name. I have since learned that they do not teach Christ to the children. In fact, when I send a monetary gift to the family of my sponsor child, they take 20% of it for their costs! Compassion sends my child’s family the entire amount I send and does not take any money out of the gift I send! I will always sponsor children through Compassion. They have proved themselves to be a caring, ethical and compassionate agency who puts the children first! God bless all who help.

    Comment by Marianne Lordi — September 1, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

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