It’s April, which means it’s tax time. While I completed my taxes last month, this reminds me of when I was doing taxes last year: I had a week off, so I figured I’d get my taxes done early, and my sister asked if I wouldn’t mind doing hers, as she was particularly busy. Of course, I said yes.
While going through her paperwork, I noticed that she had made a charitable donation to the “Genocide Intervention Network” — some sort of “Save Darfur”-type group. Everyone is interested in stopping violence and genocide, right? Sounds like a good organization.
At the time, I did some digging, and it turns out that all the organization does is collect money which it uses to “educate people about genocide” and “lobby Congress to do something about genocide” (I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it). Nothing about actually protecting innocents from violence, nothing about providing aid to those in refugee camps, etc. Just money for lobbying.
While I suppose there’s some benefit to that, I can’t really see it. I’d much rather give my money to an organization that actually does things, such as the Red Cross:
So far this year, the ICRC has delivered food aid to an average of 177,000 people per month, delivered more than 19,000 Red Cross messages between those separated by the conflict, and reunited 36 families.
The Federation [of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies] continues to manage two refugee camps in Eastern Chad for 45,000 people, with a focus on health services, provision of food and essential household items, and water and sanitation programs.
The fact that the Red Cross also helps a huge amount of people through their blood banks, services to members of the military and their families, POWs, disaster relief, first aid/CPR training, and various international programs is also nice.
While the Red Cross, like any organization, may have made mistakes or received well-deserved criticism over the years, they do good work and help lots of people. Certainly more so than some lobbying group.