Dime a Dozen

Who’ll Notice If These
12 Street Kids Are Gone?

Take a good look at these faces. If we were to pull your heartstrings, picture them dreaming of being doctors, artists, teachers, even presidents of their countries. Chances are, however, they’ll never make it. Both statistically and in real life, it’s likely they’re already gone.
Despite their resemblance to kids you know, they only count as dehumanized figures of ignored treatises on the homeless, the war, infant mortality, hunger, prostitution, slavery. Not to break those strings, but you may pass daily by them and not even notice.
Yes, they have stories, and much good to contribute to the world, and who knows, maybe among them there’s someone who one day could even save your life. But that doesn’t mean much.
And yes, there are a lot of people who spend their waking hours, and sleepless nights, working and wondering what to do, so unrelated children will be cared for just as if they belong to families and loving friends and an empathetic society. But most of them do not, and won’t get a chance to even know what that means.

You’re still free to wonder about whatever happened to Alex or Indira, after they posed with their sleeping cots, and you may search on the Internet for the identity of those two Cambodian boys, sleeping embraced on a set of steps. We added the photographers’ names just in case.
You may also inquire around about those two girls, among thousands of others, who seemed so happy with the bottles of water they’ve retrieved amid the rubble of Gaza. Or you may wish that those two boys, who’ve crossed the border of Syria to Turkey with their families, have found shelter.
We won’t stand on your way. In fact, we’d even appreciate if you could help finding out who are those four American kids, sleeping in what seems to be an abandoned room, Continue reading

Battleground Masters

“You’re Welcome But
You Can’t Crash Here.”

If you’re one of the thousands of veterans returning to the U.S. from Iraq, welcome back. You’ve probably already heard it before, but let’s restate the fact of how grateful we all are for your sacrifice.
Now, there’re a number of facts that can be said about you: you’re coming back from a few tours in Iraq e possibly in Afghanistan too, but you know of many who did not.
You also know of some who did it but with serious physical and psychological wounds; you think you’re fine but perhaps have considered the possibility of seeing someone to help you cope, too. Despite the medals you’ve earned over there, you’re still not sure of what to do with your life from now on; and you’ve already been told at least twice, that there’re no jobs available.
Now, a few things you may not have heard about what’s going on around here, and we must warn you, they may hurt: regardless of what you’ve been told, most people have all but forgotten you were even there.
There’s a record number of Americans living under the poverty line, and the national unemployment levels match those of 70 years ago. Continue reading

Charitable Mistrust

Beware Which Collection Box
Asks You to Donate Your Shirt

You probably went through it at least once. But you certainly know of some people who do it religiously every year. Spring hits and with it, comes that urge to do some cleaning. Wardrobes are raided, heavy duty garbage bags get filled with old clothes, lost socks miraculously show up, as if to defy your sanity.
Above all, you’re taken by that powerful brotherly love and desire to donate it all to a homeless shelter and be done with it, all the while feeling outstandingly pleased with yourself for such a (fully noticed) display of benevolence and charity.
It’s just as well then that this time, you’ve chosen to dump your “gently-used” textiles into one of those flashy boxes you see at malls and parking lots spread out in this great city of ours. For that, you even skipped the local Salvation Army warehouse, or a Goodwill store, because it seemed such a good idea.
Well, it was actually a mistake. You may have no idea how the bureaucracy of the S.A. or Goodwill, and others like them, process and dispatch their huge loads of used clothes and furniture, but it’s a fact the stuff does get to needy communities, whether in your city, Continue reading