Jane Mullin’s letter, “Help needy Americans before reaching to Japan,” on March 23 left me bewildered.

How could anyone watch the immense suffering in Japan and not want to help, much less encourage others not to help? She also encourages us to send only prayers to other countries.

America, the richest country in the world, has many safety nets to support its poor, including welfare and food stamps. We do not have the tremendous poverty that is the norm in many countries, many of which do not have the resources to provide social services. Much of the relief they receive is through international charitable organizations. Without our support, these organizations would fail.

In many countries in Africa, if a mother cannot nurse her baby it will die; formula is expensive and not readily available. That just doesn’t happen in the United States. I encourage Mullin to go to www.foreverangels.org and read about this amazing organization.

A flock of chickens that can change the life of a needy family can be bought for $20 through Heifer International. The family will benefit from the nutrition of the eggs, and they can sell the excess eggs for income. How far does $20 go in the United States?

If we limit our charitable giving to the United States, the world would see us as selfish and self-centered not “united.” During Hurricane Katrina, foreign countries pledged $854 million to Americans.

I agree that the people of Japan need our prayers, but they also need our financial assistance. By no means do I think all charitable giving should go overseas. There are worthwhile charities here in the U.S., but open your eyes and your heart. Shouldn’t kindness and compassion extend beyond our own borders?

Bernadette LaCroix

Benton


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