Give financially. The Good Samaritan gave two denarii to the innkeeper to help the man while he was gone. He informed the innkeeper of his plan to come back and cover expenses incurred in his absence. Another way you can help like the Good Samaritan is to financially contribute to recovery efforts. Note that the Good Samaritan anticipated more resources were likely to be needed as time passed. Giving money now is one of the most effective ways you can help in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Yes, giving a monetary donation can feel a bit sterile. Yet giving to those on the ground means your dollars will be utilized immediately and where they are most needed. To make sure your dollars go to work, give to established relief organizations and nonprofits. Local community organizations, such as churches, may also start to manage donations, providing another great place to give. Many of these groups already possess the skills, know-how, and resources to respond effectively. They are also more prepared to handle the large influx of donations to follow.
Research has shown the vast majority of giving is done in the early phase of disaster response and often runs dry during later stages of recovery. Commit to supporting long-term assistance, as social and financial capital often dry up well before tangible signs of disaster recovery are evidenced.
Being a good neighbor in these ways will not only help meet physical needs left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, but, as we learn in the parable’s final verses, also shows mercy in the way Jesus commanded us to “go and do likewise.”
For any readers in the Houston area: Dr. Aten will be conducting a Spiritual First Aid for Disaster (SFA) training on September 16, 2017. SFA is an innovative, evidence-informed spiritual and emotional care intervention that equips lay and professional helpers to provide social support and address common spiritual and emotional struggles that follow a disaster. For more information and to register, click here.
If you’re interested in disaster relief ministry, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is launching a new M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster leadership, with both a traditional on-campus track and hybrid, primarily online track. Learn more here.
Dr. Jamie Aten (@drjamieaten) is founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, Illinois, and author of the Disaster Ministry Handbook. In 2016 he received the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion award at the White House. Read more at jamieaten.com.
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