You may have donated money to help Haiti after the earthquake. You may have even donated to help Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. But how many times have you just walked by and ignored a single person on the street with his hand extended in need of money?
America is a nation that has always helped others in need. Haiti aid charities have appeared numerous times since the earthquake on Jan. 12, and the United States has donated $466,879,506 to those in need of assistance in Haiti. With a population of 314,659,000, that adds up to everyone in America donating approximately $1.48. Meanwhile, Katrina victims have received a total of $1.3 billion since 2005.
Whenever a big disaster occurs, the United States is the first to begin donating to the country in need. Whether it is another country or our own, America feels a moral obligation to help.
But what about between hard times? America is full of people living in poverty who receive little to no help from the public. People walk by homeless people on the street without giving them even a dime. Society has painted a picture in our minds that poor people have caused their own fate and that they deserve what they get. This picture needs to be destroyed, replaced by an image that reflects reality.
People living in poverty have not necessarily caused it themselves. Some are born into it, and others fall into it. While it is true that poverty can sometimes be caused by bad choices, everyone has their own story. Anyone willing to try to climb their way up from poverty deserves help along the way.
Charities such as Save the Children, Poverty USA and Big Brothers Big Sisters work to solve the problem of poverty in America, but they rely on donations from the public. If everyone is spending their money on donating to other nations, how can we solve the problems in our own country?
Donating to other nations in need is a good thing to do, when the nation donating can afford it. The United States is going through tough times, and nothing will be solved without the money we need, which is being sent to Haiti.
Funds are being cut from schools and hospitals while money is being sent to Haiti. Money wouldn’t need to be taken from places that need it if America’s money was staying in America.
Once America’s economy has fallen to the point where it can no longer help other nations, it will be too late to solve anything. If the United States works to fix its economy, then it can help other nations when it is once again considered the most prosperous country in the world.
Nikki Griesemer is a junior at Schenectady High School