Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Buckets of Hope

A few days ago, I mentioned that I'd been busy with something called "Buckets of Hope," but I've failed to mention what it is exactly and since time is quickly running out, I wanted to give you the scoop.

Basically, the "Buckets of Hope" campaign is a way for people to give food to Haitian families through the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board. They've got more info here, but basically, for about $30-35, you can feed a Haitian family for about a week.

What you do is you buy a white, 5-gal bucket with minimal branding on the outside. Then you buy:

  • Two 5-lb bags of long grain enriched rice
  • Two 2-lb bags of black (or red) beans (if you can't find 2-lb bags, you can get four 1-lb bags)
  • Two 1-lb boxes of spaghetti
  • One 5-lb sack of all-purpose (not self-rising) flour
  • One 48-oz plastic bottle of cooking oil (wrapped in a 2-gal ziplock bag)
  • One 40-oz plastic container of peanut butter
  • One 20-oz cylinder of sugar (like you'd use for coffee service at work)
  • $10 cash to help defray shipping costs
Once you've packed your bucket according to the directions found here, you bring it to your local participating Southern Baptist church (like mine) or your local Southern Baptist State Convention (like the BCM/D). The state convention will then ship the buckets they've collected to a warehouse in Florida, and from there, they'll all be shipped to Haiti for distribution there.

Local churches may have their own due dates for buckets, but they definitely _have_ to be at the state conventions by Monday, March 15th - that's THIS coming Monday. Sorry for the short notice.

The SBC did something similar with boxes of food that were sent to Iraq when I was there. Many thousands of Iraqis were helped by those boxes, and there were countless opportunities to share why we were feeding those in need. I don't think I can express how amazing an opportunity this is.

Could your $30 buy more food if it were sent to Haiti? Well, maybe, depending on scarcity. Would it be a LOT less work for you to just donate $30 to Compassion or World Vision or Samaritan's Purse or the Red Cross? Yes. But taking the time to fill a bucket with food that will be sent to a specific family that is in dire straits? It makes it personal and tangible for you.

Some people say that donation drives like this aren't as "effective" as monetary donations. And if you're merely looking at the stuff that can be purchased with the same amount of money locally (where the shipping costs are minimal and you're more likely to get something that the locals actually use), then they're right.

But this sort of thing isn't just about the people that are being helped. It's also about the people who are helping. Shaun Groves likes to say that Compassion not only releases children from poverty, but they also release Americans (and others) from their wealth.

By giving each of us a tangible way to help, it brings the tragedy closer to us. It's almost too easy to give money. It goes right from the bank to the organization or from the credit card to the organization. Sometimes you have to fiddle a little with your budget to make things work, but for the most part, you never even miss the money.

But _stuff_...._stuff_ is real. Stuff is tangible. Stuff awakens the imagination.

I pray that you will be released from a little of your wealth by filling at least one "Bucket of Hope" today!

1 comment:

Stroba said...

Glad to see this is being done around the nation...our Sunday school group took class time one Sunday morning in February to pack several of these through NC Baptists.