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Charity: Less Me, More We

Sometimes I don't know how to begin. My heart is heavy with passion, the weight of something that I'm sold out to. We pour ourselves into so many things over a day, a year, a lifetime. In the end we want to know that it was good, that it was right, that it mattered.

What is Charity?

There's a lot of conversations going on these days. If you hang out with enough humanitarians or just Google, you'll soon come across the question of charity. How we do it, why we do it, and if it should even be done. The truth of the matter is yes, it should be done, it needs to be done. I can no more walk away from someone with a need than to leave a bleeding person alongside the road. As a nurse, I greatly understand the difference between helping and enabling. Sometimes, most times, it's not strictly a black and white situation. And here is where the conversation starts.

Charity needs to be about more than just being a good person, it’s about offering a hand up, empowering. Offering a sustainable solution. It would it be ridiculous if I came up to that bleeding person on the road, handed them a Band-Aid, walked away and thought that I had actually done something.

Three Basic Forms of Charity

Charity can often be broken down into three large groups:

Emergency Relief - Those individuals that have an immediate need, most often caused because of a natural disaster or something completely unseen. Those affected have no capacity to help themselves most often because of an event like hurricane Katrina in the U.S. or the earthquakes that rocked Haiti and Nepal. Relief and support is mobilized immediately, one of the many reasons an organization like the Red Cross was established.

Perpetual Handouts - Unfortunately, this is often what we’ve come to know about charity. A lot of us will humbly admit that we’ve participated in this type of charity. No judgment friends, I too have been there. Thinking that I was doing right, my heart was in a very good place, and I meant well. I just hadn’t yet been educated to the damage created by handouts. Handouts in the immediate (emergency relief) is GOOD but if it’s still happening years later, then we’ve created a cycle that is very wrong and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. The facts speak for themselves on handouts, if donated dollars could have fixed the problem, it already would have.

Sustainable Solutions - The third type is one that creates a lasting impact and sustainable solution. In a lot of ways this is much harder because it requires a commitment and a teachable spirit. Nobody is riding in to the rescue. It's a process of listening, building relationships, and often a level of trial and error. It’s allowing those on the receiving end to “rescue” themselves by supporting entrepreneurship, job creation, and personal responsibility and ownership.

What Humankind Does: Hydro-Philanthropy

Humankind Water takes your dollars and partners with reputable organizations that are changing the way charity is done because we care about those affected and the way that we deliver help. Our partners work closely within the local community to provide empowerment – jobs, education, sustainability. We deliver immediate clean water solutions in order to decrease preventable illnesses, like cholera, and allow a temporary fix until the long term solution (a well or rain catchment system) can be established.

As hydro-philanthropy evolves, we at Humankind Water do too, sometimes needing to change the formula for sustainable impact based on best practice. Our bottled water exists for the sole purpose of helping to eradicate the clean water crisis. We know better, and we strive to do better. Charity needs to empower those on the receiving end, otherwise the cycle continues.

I am pouring my heart and soul into something that is good and lasting. A bottle of HK is more than giving clean water, it's jobs, it's education, it's health. The best thing is that we’re partnering together to hope for a brighter future. All with the utmost respect to those impacted.

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