Helping after its "attractive"

Disasters happen all the time. And when they strike, helping can become really "attractive" on the ground.

What do I mean by that?

Frankly, we as people and organizations can feel good when we have the opportunity to help, especially amid crises. Being the first group on the ground, grabbing the photos, and describing the impact, increases the visibility of oneself or an organization.

But what happens when giving is no longer in vogue? What happens when help goes out of style for a particular issue? I pose these questions as a group of dear friends just returned from helping to paint homes and lay flooring in Kentucky. Remember Kentucky? The horrific tornadoes swept through the region and wrecked many lives and livelihoods. Those tragic weather phenomena were months ago. But, these events are seemingly already lost in a never-ending news cycle. Kentucky's tornadoes may be buried in the news, but the needs never disappeared for those affected. Individuals' lives in the region are still forever changed.

The folks in Kentucky will continue to grieve the loss of their homes, schools, and livelihoods for years to come.

But as helping organizations, do we forget to stick around for the long haul? Do we help only when it's attractive, when it's "in," and then forget that there is grief that lasts longer?

Part of our duty as an organization is to be the helpers when issues strike and to find helpers who can continue the work. At The Patterson Foundation, we strive to involve others who view disaster recovery through a sustainable and long-term lens. TPF is fortunate to work with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). Their expertise and experience are invaluable to ensuring that the helping continues even while others may be moving on to the newest disaster, incident, or crisis.

Long-term help may not be as flashy as quicker relief efforts, but it may have the opportunity to be more influential and impactful. As organizations and as individuals, it is important to be helpful in real, tangible, long-term ways. If we are there for the long-term and see resolutions through, we help build resiliency for when the next disaster strikes and find ourselves even more in tune for recovery.

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