SEATTLE - When budgets are tight, it's hard to know how much to give to
charity, but many nonprofit groups in Washington are struggling. Mercy Corps
the global relief organization based in the Northwest, is suggesting
people help others by giving whatever amount they're spending on their
own Thanksgiving dinner.
Caitlin Carlson, communications officer with Mercy Corps
, says even if that's not possible, every dollar counts in countries that are facing war- or weather-related crises.
"It takes only $5 to help replant an acre of rice. Mercy Corps
is conscious of the U.S. economic climate, but we want to remind people
that even a little bit, a few dollars, can have a huge impact."
As an example, a $30 donation buys an emergency food box to supply a
household for several days after a flood or earthquake. Carlson says Mercy Corps
aid workers often arrive at disaster sites within hours - most recently, in Indonesia.
"Providing emergency food is critical because, when economies are
completely decimated by a natural disaster, there are no markets to go
to any more. The flow of food stops."
The United Nations has named malnutrition the world's top health risk. Carlson says the Thanksgiving request is part of Mercy Corps'
"One Table" campaign - a push to invest more money in fighting hunger and helping women support their families.
Carlson says Thanksgiving will be "business as usual" for 3,700 Mercy
Corps workers. They are helping farmers, building wells and schools,
making small loans to family businesses and more, in 40 countries.
Donations can be made online at www.mercycorps.org/thanksgiving