Austin McRae, 9, has cystic fibrosis and diabetes and is finding joy in helping others.
Austin lives in Estacada, Oregon, but, with help from his parents, he has started delivering supplies such as clothing, food, and toiletries to homeless people in Portland every week.
Austin is inspired by all those who have helped him in the past: “People have been taking care of me my whole life, so I want to do something for other people.” he said.
His parents have encouraged Austin in his efforts, helping him to set up a website, Austins Cause, where people can donate.
“It’s helped to take the focus off him and his medical appointments and given him another focus,” Austin’s father, Josh, said.
Currently, the McRae family is raising money to buy a trailer so they can deliver even more supplies to homeless people.
Google partnered with #Pay to revolutionize charity campaigns in the UK. Termed #Donate, the new process allows social media users to link their Paypal and Twitter accounts to give money directly to charities.
“It has been our mission to find a way for charities to make the most of their online communities,” Nicole Parkinson, head of Social and Content at Good Agency, said in a press release.
Though by no means a one-click process, #Donate aspires to make giving easier and, consequently, more common.
Charities can set up a #Donate and create a personal hashtag. Users wishing to give money tweet the charity’s hashtag, the charity’s Twitter handle, and the amount of money they want to donate.
To confirm the donation, the charity tweets the giver a thank-you, and the donor must confirm the transaction by retweeting the thank-you tweet before money is transferred from PayPal.
“We are so excited to be involved in bringing this technology to the sector and helping organisations connect with their online communities in a deeper and richer way that truly drives value and unleashes the good,” Parkinson said.
It’s difficult to say which is spreading faster – the deadly Ebola virus or the rising global terror.
Persistent through the chaotic scrambling of health organizations is the aid flowing from long term nonprofits already established in the most afflicted regions.
“Hopelessness and fear need to be overcome,” Mike Mantel, the CEO of Living Water International, told Relevant concerning the organization’s response to the crisis. “We need divine spiritual intervention.”
A Christian aid organization, Living Water works to provide clean water to Liberia and Sierra Leone. With the onset of Ebola, the organization launched a new platform to provide updates about the crisis. Most importantly, the site shares how people can help.
“Where Ebola is not yet affecting communities, we’re trying to get out ahead and educate church leaders as well as community leaders — even police and prison populations — about what Ebola is and how to take steps to fight Ebola. But the Church is very much, along with our staff, the hands and feet in our water sanitation and hygiene programs,” Mantel said.
Other organizations are also working to combat the disease in various locations with complementary approaches.
Doctors Without Borders
Active in three West African countries, Doctors Without Borders currently employs 270 international and approximately 3,000 local staff in regions affected by Ebola. The organization treated 4,900 patients, shipped over 877 tons of supplies, and maintained six Ebola case management centers, since the beginning of the outbreak.
The organization’s critical priorities remain to “stop the spread of the disease, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability, and prevent the spread of the disease to countries currently unaffected.”
To learn more about supporting Doctors Without Borders, click here.
Besides providing personal protective equipment and medical supplies to health care workers in Sierra Leone and Senegal, World Vision is working with government officials and health agencies to plan cooperative efforts against the virus. The organization participates in the World Health Organization’s Ebola Task Force.
World Vision is a key player in active education on preventative measures, through both radio programs and house-to-house information sharing.
“When so many communities face such terrible suffering, the church must be there to combat fear, stigma, isolation, and hopelessness with both love and tangible support,” said Bruno Col, World Vision communications director in West Africa.
To donate to the organization or to sta
rt your own fundraiser, click here.
Samaritan’s Purse is establishing and managing Community Care Centers across Liberia. Trained locals run these health facilities, which assist those infected in the most remote rural areas. The organization also spearheaded public health initiatives in Liberia, including caregiver training, kit distribution, and massive public education campaigns. Since March, the organization provided potentially life-saving information to more than 1 million people.
“Our efforts are moving in the correct direction,” said Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse. “We are training people to take care of their loved ones, while protecting themselves and their families from infections.”
To donate to the organization’s West-African Ebola Response, click here.
UNICEF has reached 5.5 million West African people with disease preventative information and supplied over 600,000 bottles of chlorine bleach in Guinea and Liberia. By caring for affected families, offering education, training medical personnel, and providing medical equipment, UNICEF is adamant to stop Ebola.
Thanks to the generosity of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, every donation to UNICEF will be matched $1 – $1. To learn more about donating, click here.
Numerous other aid organizations are working to halt the spread and impact of the Ebola virus. Mantel encourages those concerned to play a role in the fight by spreading vital information and giving to aid organizations
“You know, even in the United States where we have so much access to information, we still don’t totally understand what’s happening in West Africa,” Mantel said.
“I think the readership should respond with prayers and should respond with helping us, come alongside and partner with organizations and provide water and sanitation training and keep the Church engaged and at the center of this.”