This post is written by Natacha Danon, a political science and sociology student at Bates College. She is pleased to volunteer with Jolkona before she leaves for Morocco, where she will study abroad next semester.
In the chaos of long lines, last-minute preparations, and family gatherings, the natural disaster that struck the Philippines just last month began to slip from my mind. But while buying the last of my Christmas gifts – and watching people flood the mall again days later to shop the sales – I was suddenly struck by the irreconcilable contrast between these two worlds. The only commonality was the element of long lines – long lines of impatient customers at Macy’s, long lines of Filipinos awaiting scarce water, food and medical supplies. An image of consumerism and abundance; an image of scarcity and deprivation.
In this state of cognitive dissonance, I tried to take solace in the fact that I had done what I could. A few weeks earlier, my family members emailed back and forth to make individual pledges and pool our contributions for Peace Winds America, the Seattle-based nonprofit that Jolkona has partnered with for this year’s Standing With the Philippines holiday campaign. Remarkably, 100 percent of our donations go towards food, water, shelter, counseling and other needed services for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (known there as Typhoon Yolanda).
But our individual contributions aren’t enough; 11 million people are struggling to recover from this unprecedented disaster. So, please consider spreading the spirit of giving beyond your own family, by providing survivors in the Philippines with a glimmer of hope for the new upcoming year. Spread the word and give together with Jolkona and Peace Winds America in the spirit of this holiday season today.