Thursday, November 15, 2012

Response of the Century?

News outlets called it Frankenstorm and The Storm of the Century (though it has some stiff competition). And indeed, the damage from Hurricane Sandy has been catastrophic to New York, New Jersey and even parts of West Virginia. Hundreds of miles away residents along the shores of Lake Erie were experiencing shoreline flooding.

In response, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America pulled $500k from their reserves and with additional monies collected NOV 10 from a special offering from local conferences and churches across America, the contribution to Adventist Community Services (ACS) will exceed $1 million. During December in Toledo First Church, we'll be collecting an additional offering each week for further ACS Sandy Relief.

And while that's not insignificant, it's about the same as the amounts much larger companies like Apple, Coach, Disney, FedEx, Gap, JPMorgan Chase, and others contributed to the Red Cross which has helped them raise over $131 million so far in Sandy relief. But, it's significantly less than the monies other nonprofit organizations raising money for relief efforts have received. The Salvation Army has received more than $5 million in donations made online, by phone and by mail. Feeding America has brought in $1.2 million in financial contributions and 150 truckloads of food, which it said will go to food banks in impacted areas. Donations for Sandy are still well behind the funds raised during international disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last year and the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. During the entire recovery periods for those events, the Red Cross raised a total of about $302 million for Japan, and $475 million for Haiti.

So far, the "storm of the century" has not motivated the "response of the century" either by the church or by secular companies. Which got me thinking: Is there an amount those affected would recognize from a church / business / NGO as indicative of "a response of the century"? And if so, how much would it be? Would such an amount help people remember the givers a year later when they get an invitation to some public evangelistic meetings taking place in NYC in 2013? Guess we'll see.

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