Why charity should begin at our doorstep. Homeless in TN (via @CatherineGrison)

People like you and me. Why charity should begin at our doorstep. Now.

“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”~ Mother Theresa

Bonjour mes amis!

This new post is probably not the most fun one I could ever blog but it is essential to me.

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend of mine and expressing how tired I was of seeing otherwise very generous people giving lots of money to multiple charities all over the world, while closing their eyes on the striking raising poverty in their own neighborhood or even personal circles.
Don’t get me wrong: I do NOT say not to donate to worldwide non profits. They do a fabulous job and we all need to support them.  Two of my favorites: Medecins sans Frontieres http://www.msf.org/ 
and Amnesty International  http://www.amnesty.org/.

What I say is, and I am sure that it could sound provocative, is:
We can’t fool ourselves by only sending tax deductible checks and feeling good about it while we are surrounded by a growing wave of desperation in our closest environment.

I know, it is as easy to loose touch with our surroundings as it is to get distracted on Twitter! We live separated by gizmos, screened by passwords; even resumes are first selected by computers before anybody get to read them! People like you and me and who have still have jobs are overworked and scared of losing their position/clients, while laid-off people also like you and me are busy trying to make things happen before… before what? … before the unemployment checks stop paying their rent, before their savings stop paying their mortgage, before … they are suddenly homeless.
People like you and me.

Yesterday I met Elyssa Durant on Twitter (@ElyssaD) and I encourage you to subscribe to her blog:  http://www.thepowersthatbeat.blogspot.com/
Elyssa blogs on a her everyday fight to get a home, escape from the shelter violence, get back to the decent life that escaped from her one day, by accident. Trust me, it is not sugar-coated and you will witness a 35 year old girl trying to keep her sanity and her backberry while facing violence, incompetence, denial, abandon.
A girl like you and me.

One last thought… You may find ironic that I look so dressed up on a Vlog talking about homeless. It is purposefully planed. Appearances are deceiving. Take me as an example. If tomorrow I do not have enough clients/projects to pay for my bills and rent, what do you think will happen? I have no back up. Will I lose my stylish clothes and famous shoes? NO: I will loose my home. At first it will not show on my social image. I will probably still look fabulous for a while. However it will maybe kill me.
A girl like you: me?

We are one.
Let’s open our hearts, our eyes, and give a hand or a food basket!
Asking our neighbors and our friends: “How are you doing? Are you OK?” and really listening to their answer.

Namaste,
In Joy and Respect, for All.

Catherine

PS: Once more I want to promote the mission of my friend Richard Bassett (@RichBassett) in Boston who does an incredible job to raise awareness for human causes and connect people: http://www.youtube.com/richardbassett1956

PPS: I am working hard on the Saint Vincent Pro-Bono project now with the support of the San Francisco Design Center and Philanthropy By Design. If you want to give at-risk abused teenagers a chance to stand for themselves by living in a healthier uplifting home, contact me. I am remodeling a house with Feng Shui principles and fun colors! Merci.

Know your neighbors. Build a true community. We can all be homeless tomorrow.
“The act of NOT helping is an action in and if itself. Do not look the other way, bystander apathy public safety issue for all. Random Act Of Kindness”. ~ Elyssa Durant

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Author: Chilleh Penguin

A frisky penguin.

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