Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Donation Rot

Another consideration in donating to refugees, is to have insight into what donations will help and what donations may even hinder efforts for relief.

Recently NPR addressed this issue. Juanita Rilling, director of the Center for International Disaster Information in Washington, D.C. gave some insight into what donations help and those that do not.

Hurricane Mitch Honduras was a disaster. More than 11,000 people died. More than a million and a half were left homeless. An airplane full of relief donations could not land because someone had left donated 
clothing on the runway. This clothing including, winter coats (for Honduras!), which was not what they needed. It even hurt efforts to get supplies they needed to the people there.

 When the Indian Ocean tsunami occurred, more donated of used clothing appeared on a beach in Indonesia. There was no one to clean it up or take care of it and it began to rot. The clothing became toxic and was eventually burned, to take care of the problem.

Many people think donating bottles of water is helpful. But when talking about relief abroad this can be costly. Bottled water cases can cost hundred of thousands of water. But relief organizations with portable water purification units can produce the same amount, a 100,000 liters of water, for about $300."

A local tragedy, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, inspired many to send relief items. The number of  Teddy Bears sent totaled about 
67,000. School supplies, and thousands of boxes of toys, bicycles, sleds, clothes were also sent. Rilling speculates that these items where more for the comfort and relief of those that sent them, than the children there at Sandy Hook. There were a few teddy bears handed out to the children and the rest were sent away.

When Hurricane Sandy occurred in 2012, the relief groups stopped accepting clothes. They created a "wedding registry" of relief items that were really needed in the area.

There are some donations that can bring relief, there are others that can get in the way of people receiving relief. It is good to become educated with our efforts on donating to refugees.

Juanita Rilling said,

"And cash donations enable relief organizations to purchase supplies locally, which ensures that they're fresh and familiar to survivors, purchased in just the right quantities, and delivered quickly. And those local purchases support the local merchants, which strengthens the local economy for the long run."

Information from "​When disaster relief brings anything but relief"  Scott Simon of NPR

Monday, May 2, 2016

Reaching out to Refugees

Helping Refugees has been a focus for our Church lately. It is such a huge need seeing that there are about 60 million refugees in the world today. The UN reported earlier this year on World Refugee Day that..

"...the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally 

displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-

World War II era, exceeded 50 Million people."

That is a staggaring number of people. Many organizations have been helping the refugees. One of my favorite organization is the Shelter Box.

Shelter Box is an organization that prepares for the the worst day in someone's lives. They provide food, water, shelter, medical care. 

They report, "ShelterBox has been working in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq Kurdistan to help the millions of Syrian's who have had to leave their country since the conflict began. Recently, ShelterBox began working in Greece to provide the basic human right of shelter to these refugees as they seek asylum and safety."

If you are looking for an organization to support in helping Refugees, check out the link below. Also there is link to Elder Uchtdorf's personal story about being a refugee as a child.

Shelter Box

Elder Uchtdorf recounts childhood refugee ordeal

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sprouts and Food Poisoning

We all want to keep our family safe from illness. Food can be a source of contamination if not prepared properly. 

In the Washington Post this week there was an article about food borne illness and contamination attorney. He has represented many clients over the years that have become sick or family members who have died from food contamination. 

Bill Marler has become quite an expert on food poisoning. He listed six foods he no longer eats risk of eating them is simply too large. A popular food storage item showed up on the list. 

Raw Sprouts.

Bill Marler states,
Raw sprouts. Uncooked and lightly cooked sprouts have been linked to more than 30 bacterial outbreaks (mostly of salmonella and E. coli) in the US since mid-1990s. As recently as 2014, salmonella from bean sprouts sent 19 people to the hospital. All types of sprouts—including alfalfa, mung bean, clover and radish sprouts—can spread infection, which is caused by bacterial contamination of their seeds. “There have been too many outbreaks to not pay attention to the risk of sprout contamination,” He did add that he does eat them if they’re cooked.

He continues..."Children, the elderly, and persons whose immune systems are not functioning well should not eat raw sprouts, because current treatments of seeds and sprouts cannot get rid of all bacteria present."

"Although sprouts are often considered a "health food," the warm, humid conditions needed for growing sprouts from seeds are also ideal for bacteria to flourish. Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria can grow to high levels without affecting the appearance of the sprouts."

"Researchers have treated both seeds and sprouts with heat or washed them in solutions of chlorine, alcohol, and other chemicals. Some of these disinfectants reduced the levels of bacteria, but a potential hazard remained, especially for persons with weak immune systems. High temperatures that would kill the bacteria on the seeds would also keep them from sprouting. Until an effective way is found to prevent illness from sprouts, they should be eaten with caution, if at all."
This should be taken into consideration, in your food storage items. Especially if you have a sprouting kit that you only plan to use in case of emergencies. This could be a great health risk to your family if you are unfamiliar with sprouting. If an expert is saying his is unwilling to eat this food because of the threat, I am going to listen!