Saturday, October 28, 2017

Decompressing After Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico Contest and Resolving All Chicago Auto Donation Snafu

A disclosure on my contest for hurricane relief of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands: I felt uneasy about the part where I said that I would keep any surplus of funds raised over matching donations submitted by readers. I also felt guilty conditioning donating the base funds on readers donating and submitting their receipt and argument. Based on these two feelings, I decided that I still needed to donate.

Which meant that I had to do what I wanted to transfer onto my readers by throwing this contest: choose an organization to donate funds. Yes, I went to some effort to avoid making a decision on my own. Apparently if I wanted to get something done, I had to do it myself.

I decided to follow the latest thread in my thinking and feeling on politics and development: as much as possible, go to the people who would receive the aid to see what they need, as I remember a story told once at church and a story in Uncanny Magazine that I keep going back to: "The Ache of Home". I feel there should still be a bottom line ethical/moral line (see my opinion on the issue of politicians catering to the economics of the White Working Class vs Identity Politics), but I think this thread has a lot going for it. I plan on ruminating on this topic in a later entry based on my trying to understand a book comparing Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine.

I don't know anyone who lives in Puerto Rico so that doesn't help. Based on what I've heard on the radio involved in on the ground relief, I didn't have any spare clean underwear or the wherewithal to get clean underwear to send somewhere, and I didn't know where to send clean underwear.

My best resource turned out to be a Puero Rican woman friend who had posted a lot about the disaster and at least one link for figuring out where to send donations. They linked to the New York Times article "How to Help Puerto Rico and Other Islands After Hurricane Maria". The article provides a bunch of good resources, some of them direct links to an organization or crowdfunding campaign and some of them to a more general website to do more searching and research.

I used two resources the article provided:

After acclimating myself with the website and two clicks later, I found on HIPGIVE the tax-deductible crowdfunding page for Hurricane Relief Fund for Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida. It doesn't do anything for the US Virgin Islands, but I'm short on time and like anything in the world, sometimes we just have to choose.
I donated the base $50 I budgeted for matching. I based my decision on donating here on where I started in the search: send the money to people who probably have the best idea of what the people on the ground need (and accept that with my limited time and cognitive energy, I can't aim for perfection).

The Webpage led me to believe it was the last night to donate, but per the Webpage at the time of writing this blog entry, it still has 5 days and 8 hours left to raise money. At this point, they've raised $135,748 out of $150,000 from 741 donors. They just need $14,252 to reach their goal. In the days of crowd funding, that's not much more, so head on over here and donate!


I called All Chicago a day or so after posting the latest accounting of my donations for 2017 when I mentioned that All Chicago hadn't charged me for September. The person in charge of this processing was out of the office that day, but they took message and would get it to the processing person/accountant for a call back ASAP.

This person got back to me the following week, notified me that it was a mistaken techno glitch, gave me options, and asked me how I wanted to settle it. I told her that I still wanted to make the September donation and that it was OK to double charge me on the October withdrawal. A few days later, they charged me double that amount, and now all is settled. Yay!

That's it for now, Neighbor. Thanks for reading. Have a good day, take care of yourself, then go out and do what you can to make this world a better place for us all.

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