Thursday, January 21, 2010

Free Market Disaster Relief

Our congregation is responding to the disaster in Haiti by turning our Souper Bowl day into a day of making health kits for Church World Service. The Church of the Brethren is one of the founding denominations of CWS and like many congregations in many denominations we channel much of our disaster relief response through CWS.

Meanwhile many individuals are donating through the Red Cross text-messaging appeal. Mennonite Central Committee is on the ground in Haiti, as is Food for the Hungry. Global Aid Network and Samaritan's Purse are there for those who wish to channel their giving through more evangelical outlets. And I am sure this is just the tip of the ice berg of agencies working in Haiti.

What I wonder is how it all works logistically? Do these agencies coordinate with each other? Do they work in their respective niches? Do they compete? Would there be a better way of doing it? Maybe there is so much need that it doesn't matter; anywhere you put up a tent with food or medicine you will be overwhelmed. But with all the email appeals I am getting from various organizations and all the media appeals it makes me wonder how it all works on the ground.

Meanwhile there is a certain irony that none of it works very well until this other organization arrives on the scene to coordinate logistics.

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