Shortly after I joined the ELCA World Hunger team, I learned a funny little saying: “Lutherans love a disaster.” Of course, the idea behind the maxim is that Lutherans respond generously to disasters. In the month since the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, the saying has proved true as members of the ELCA have given more than $4.6 million to aid in the recovery. So far, more than$471 million from around the world has been sent in response to the tragedy. The outpouring of love and concern (and tangible gifts!) is inspiring.
The tragedy unfolding in Haiti has received a lot of press (and, to a certain extent, rightfully so). As noted by economist and poverty specialist Esther Duflo in a fabulous TED talk, every year about 9 million children under age 5 die every year. That is equal to the death toll of the earthquake in Haiti every eight days. Every eight days hundreds of thousands of children die from poverty. The tragedy is that these deaths are largely preventable.
Which brings me back to the generosity of Lutherans across the United States. In one short month, we pooled our resources and gave out of our abundance more than $4.6 million. If we continued in our commitment to the global disaster of hunger and poverty at the same rate for the rest of the year, we would gather more than $55 million to put towards relief, development, education, and advocacy. This would nearly triple our current financial commitment.
What decisions did you make this last month to help those suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti? Could those same decisions be made for a year?
– David Creech