Monday, August 30, 2010

Waste Management Helps Marlins Build Homes for Haiti

I thought this press release from the Florida Marlins to be worth posting here. I would invite all to visit the Food for the Poor website (see right sidebar) for other such inspiring stories and ways to be part of the teams that are out there solving problems for the homeless and the hungry.

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Aug. 4, 2010) Moved by the ongoing crisis in Haiti, Waste Management has made a $50,000 donation to the Florida Marlins “Homes for Haiti” program to support the month-long campaign between the baseball team and Food For The Poor to build much-needed housing in Haiti.

Waste Management, which has more than 500 workers of Haitian descent in South Florida, rallied immediately after the Jan. 12 earthquake to raise $100,000 in emergency aid for Haiti. Now the company has joined the Marlins’ effort to build homes in a country where more than 1 million people have been displaced.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Food For The Poor and the Marlins in this vital effort to bring housing and hope to those in great need,” said Dawn McCormick, Community Affairs Manager for Waste Management in South Florida. “It is gratifying to support our Haitian co-workers, many of whom lost family members in the earthquake, by participating in this effort that will put families into permanent homes and provide them with a safe and more secure future.”

The Waste Management donation will provide 10 two-room homes. Food For The Poor homes are permanent, sturdy concrete construction with rebar reinforcements, and strong corrugated zinc roofs. The charity is ramping up its capacity for building, and homes are going up in Pierre Payen, Trou Du Nord, Demier, Chastenoye, Delogner, Gros Chaudiere, Mahotiere, Leogane, and Grand Goave.

Marlins catcher John Baker, along with members of the Marlins’ front office traveled to Haiti on July 6 and 7 to see firsthand the destitute living conditions of families in Port-au-Prince, as well as in Cap-Haitien, where some of those fleeing the capital have moved.

“The trip to Haiti was an eye-opening experience; it was an awakening for me,” Baker said. “Most people don’t think of this kind of poverty being just an hour and a half by plane from Florida. Looking at pictures doesn’t do it justice. Until you have walked where they walk, and smelled what they smell, you really cannot understand.”

While the campaign started July 12 and runs for a month, the Marlins game on Aug. 22 will be sponsored by Waste Management, the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental services in North America. About 4,500 Waste Management employees and community partners will be there to see the check donation to Food For The Poor.

“We are grateful for the support of Waste Management on one of the most important projects we can do right now, which is to build homes,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor.

To donate, go to or text “Haiti” to 25383 and donate $10.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Kathy Skipper
Director of Public Relations
Food For The Poor
954.427.2222, ext. 6614

Carolina Perrina
Director, Business Communications
Florida Marlins, L.P.

Dawn McCormick
Community Affairs
Waste Management

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sabbath Sunday #2

Fr. Christian Mathis (Blessed Is the Kingdom) has made the suggestion that we "rest" on the Sabbath by taking a break from our normal blogging and sharing an older post of which we are particularly fond. Rest? Gladly! I don't get to do that very often, but now, thanks to Fr. Christian, I get to do it at least once a week -- and it gives me more time to spend with God, which is a wonderful gift.

For this week, I selected a heartwarming story that was shared with me some time ago and which I posted on my 100th Lamb blog: Friends Are God's Way of Taking Care of Us. I am always appreciative of the opportunity to be a "friend" in this way.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Come Along on a Journey to Help Pakistan One Family at a Time

Perhaps a few years ago, many people would not have been able to place Pakistan on a map -- well, those of us who were around when Bangladesh (East Pakistan) ran into trouble in the 1970s might have been able to put two and two together. Pakistan, however, was rarely in the news, at least in the regions where I lived, until right after 9/11 when the US needed help from that country. Now that country needs help from the USA -- and from the rest of the world, from you, from me, from anyone with a heart. Perhaps people gave all they had to Haiti; perhaps Pakistan is too far, too Eastern, too foreign for those of us living in the West. Whatever the reason, assistance from the West, which usually comes through for people in dire need, has not been as forthcoming in this instance, a place and time when help is needed in an overwhelming amount: 16 million Pakistanis are suffering from the devastation caused by the floods. (Help, of course, is needed and welcomed from everywhere and anywhere. Readers of this blog come from 109 different countries, including Pakistan. I hope that among you, there will be people who can help.)

Among the readers of Blest Atheist, the blog that preceded 100th Lamb, was Wajeeha, a young acquaintance of mine from Karachi, Pakistan. She and I mainly communicate via FaceBook. Over time, I have come to feel like she is just another of my children, and I am proud of what she is doing, both in college and in her current plan to help her country. A college student, living in an area unaffected by the flood but nonetheless concerned with the lack of help coming to the families stranded, impoverished, and left starving by the floods, she and her college classmates are taking matters into their hands and trying to help the people of Pakistan one family at a time. I asked her to write a post about her journey, and so I will let her tell it in her own words:
I, Wajeeha Asrar Siddiqui, with some friends and colleagues of mine have started the effort to help those who are affected by flood in Pakistan. We are collecting funds in this regard and have decided to take up the charge of everything under our own control. As prior we had trusted some government official with our money but there is nothing come to name of progress and God knows where the money gone. Now, we have decided to do everything by our own.

We are up for the task of rehabilitation for the people of Besham, Kohistan and connected districts. Our main motto is not to just provide them with food. The main motto is to let those back to their normal lives with all their respect and dignity. We are up to help those people without let them feel inferior to other members of the society.

We have aim to help those with food, water and clothing at first and then with books, raw material and space to practice and sale their handicrafts. People in those regions are masters of handicrafts. As we are already having Ramadan here so, the very first thing that is needed is drinking water and then food.

We would leave from Karachi to Besham and beyond by the end of August 2010. Our first target is to help 2000 families. An average cost of drinking water, food and clothing of a family for a month is around $150 - $200. We still need hands to join in and help us making our targets possible.

As we do not have much time left I request all those you’re seeking to help to send us their donations in cash. As the fact is, transferring of cash would take less time as compare to transferring of good. For all those who are looking forward to help can reach me by email ID:

You can also reach our representative in Besham, Engr. Said Mehmood ( who is working with Catholic Relief Services to help all those who are affected by flood.
I promised her some help from God's credit card now that it is paid off once again (see God's Crazy Math -- it took only two days for money to appear to pay it off), but that has a credit limit (probably a fortunate thing). Won't you help, too? Even a couple of dollars can make a difference. Given the exchange rate and the cost-of-living difference, a little can go a long way. I will ask Wajeeha to report on her journey periodically when time and electronic resources permit. Let's measure the compassion of the blogosphere with Pakistan as a criterion!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sabbath Sunday

Fr. Christian Mathis (Blessed Is the Kingdom) has made the suggestion that we "rest" on the Sabbath by taking a break from our normal blogging and sharing an older post of which we are particularly fond. Rest? Gladly! I don't get to do that very often, but now, thanks to Fr. Christian, I get to do it at least once a week -- and it gives me more time to spend with God, which is a wonderful gift.

For this week, I selected a post from my 100th Lamb blog that seemed somewhat appropriate to the H2 Helper theme: Today's Drama.

Have a restful and peaceful Sabbath!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

God's Crazy Math

Although most of my bi-weekly salary is already spoken for before it arrives by bills, children’s needs, and routine living expenses, I do make donations to those causes to which I am led. A couple of years ago, I began sending $10/week to one cause only. Tt was all I could afford on my tight budget, or so I thought. Once I began the routine donation, it became possible to double it, then double it again, and again. I am now up to $210/week with that donation. I have also been able to add other donations to which I have been subsequently led: $110/week for donation #2, $20/week for #3, $15/week for #4, $12.50/week for #5, and $7.50 a week for #6. Each started out as a $10 weekly donation, then grew a dollar or two at a time until the older ones became sizable.

No, I did not win any lotteries, and I have no idea where the money comes from. It just comes, and I am certain that as a result, the lower donation amounts will increase in the same ways that the larger ones did. Before anyone thinks that I am simply being humble about my riches, let me confirm that my salary alone would not cover these donations. These are God’s causes, however, and God covers them through many small financial surprises, such as being able to use per diem to provide $1000 for the children of Palomar, Colombia. I save pennies, and God turns them into dollars. I share dollars, and God multiplies them multiple-fold. From out of nowhere come unexpected bonuses, a higher-than-normal (i.e. higher than the cost of living) salary increase, unexpectedly good royalties, and, when gaps appear, a paid consultation that appears without my seeking it through a phone call from someone whom I may or may not know in need of my professional expertise. I empty the coffers. God replenishes them to a fuller level than before.

Similarly, a financial dilemma with the IRS left me $11K in the hole with nary a cent in savings in late 2006. God not only took care of that but gave me more –- enough to pay the tax accountant and donate $400 to a retreat center struggling to rebuild after a fire. I figured that the extra money belonged to God and so found a way to return it to God through the retreat center.

It’s the same way with God’s credit card, about which I have blogged on several occasions. The latest need was $500. Last week, on Saturday, I put $500 on the card for a couple in need, figuring that I could expect $50 in immediate return from others wanting to help out. On Monday, I got $90 in donations from others wanting to help. I turned around on Tuesday and charged $82.50 to the card in order to secure frequent-flyer miles help the sister of a friend and her two children escape from an abusive husband. The friend paid back the $82.50 and added $118 to help pay off God’s credit card balance from the earlier charge. The rest will come. I have learned to trust God’s crazy math.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes It's Our Own

In the spiritual circles in which I travel, particularly among the Franciscans, there is a pull (and sometimes push) to help those in need among the public: the hungry, the homeless, Just sometimes, though, it is not the stranger who needs our help. It is one of us. This our prayer group found out recently.

Two of our members, I will call them Carl and Renee, recently married, were excited to find out that their application for a home loan was approved. They found a modest home in our community and with great excitement moved in.

That was a month ago. Two weeks later, they stopped coming to our prayer group meetings. I called to find out why because it was unusual for them to miss even one meeting. They explained that they were depressed and trying to come to grips with an overnight change in their financial life. Just a few days after moving into their new home, Renee lost her job. Unfortunately, their ability to pay the mortgage was based in great part on her salary. Then, a few days after that, Carl learned that the overtime that he always got and which he counted on as part of his basic salary, given a very low weekly salary, would no longer be available to him. Instead, his employer was hiring a part-timer for the weekend hours -- it would be cheaper, I guess. They were reeling.

We discussed their situation at our prayer group. We decided to give them a housewarming party at our next prayer group meeting (tomorrow) but decided that we would do it not at the parish but at the home of one of our members who lives very near them. One of our members will be getting a greeting card for us all to sign and a plant to attach it to. In it, we will put a visa card that they can use to get past the next few weeks.

In discussing the amount, it appeared that most of us could only afford $5-$20. We thought we might be able to get a card for $150. Certainly, that would help them some, but we wanted to help more. I offered to use God's credit card. The card would hold at least $500, so I got a visa card for $500. A couple of people in our group were nervous about that since I don't have any way today to pay that off, and all we can raise right now is $150.

"Listen," I told them. "This is God's card. We are God's people, and Carl and Renee need God's help. We are God's hands on this earth, and God's credit card is there to be used. I am confident that between now and when the payment is due, some amount of money from a source we don't expect will show up to pay it off. It always works that way for me with God's credit card, and I trust God to make it happen again."

Either we trust God or we don't. There is no half-way! There is no doveryai no proverya (trust but verify), or trust but take no risks. Trust is risky. That is why it is called trust -- and I don't believe with God that there are any risks to trust!