THE OLD YEAR is gone and with it, too, the recognized "season of giving" - this is a yearly recurrence that must be stopped!
For the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s charitable giving is en vogue - many people are donating time and resources to others during this season, there is targeted emphasis on making sure that families in need have the perfect turkey dinner or the children of those family have something to open on Christmas. To donate to any cause is admirable and feels good; unfortunately this does little to nothing to solve the problems of poverty and homelessness that exists in our communities and in our state year-round. Now where does help for families in need come from the other 363 - non-holiday - days of the year? This is what you and I should be thinking about every day of the year.
Homelessness has crept closer to the comfort zone in many of our lives. The loss of a job - or maybe even two - has put many families into a tailspin and forced them into worst case scenarios where they no longer have a roof over their heads. Children that are considered our future find themselves without a place to call home when home and routine is what they need the most to develop.
According to a 2010 State Report Card on Child Homelessness produced by The National Center on Family Homelessness there are 4,400 children who become homeless every day!
For me, the thought of wanting the best for my children yet struggling day after day to find a safe place to sleep at night makes me nauseous. For thousands of children in the USA this is their daily life. According to this same report, Alaska had 7,272 homeless children in 2010. This situation is unacceptable and with current temperatures in many of our communities far below zero degrees this is situation that is also inhumane.
Non-profit organizations are always ready to accept donations. Non-profits who are dealing with the fallout surrounding increased homelessness have even more monetary needs today. Yes it is good to recognize and contribute to these organizations during the holidays but they need even more financial help during the other 10 months of year. Please consider making a donation that is spread over 12 months of the year. This gives you the comfort of making more manageable donations and also allows your organizations of choice to forecast their income better.
As the year 2012 continues to move forward I hope that you will seriously consider where you commit your charitable donations. A simple way to start your donations for the year is to commit a portion of your PFD.
I hope that the needs of our young fellow citizens are also part of your consideration in your 2012 giving plan. Children are our future and for many children their future looks cold and bleak at best.
To learn more about Alaska's homeless youth, check out Kids These Days! Show 54: Homeless Youth in Alaska.