People Helping People

By Christina Staff, Healthy Planet Staff Writer

Photo caption: My son and I planted a small container garden. We may have gotten overzealous with tomato plants, benefiting several friends and family members with backyard fruit.

How did August find us so quickly? With each lap around the sun, I try to do better about celebrating those around me. Instead of letting others simply assume we care, they will believe it when our actions show it. With that intention in mind, and since World Humanitarian Day is later this month on the 19th, let us talk about people helping people.

World Humanitarian Day is a campaign that was created after 22 humanitarian aid workers lost their lives to a bomb attack in Iraq on August 19, 2003. The national day was established five years later in 2008, and twenty years after that tragic event, the campaign’s effort is on target to aid nearly 250 million people around the world. An impact of that size is astounding and admittedly overwhelming for the average person. We may look at that and think, “How could I mesh into that without a lot of time or resources to contribute? How could I possibly make a difference?”

It’s easier than you may realize to make a meaningful impact. Stop to consider the campaign’s 2023 theme, “It takes a village.” This is one of those idioms you feel in your soul. Chances are you’ve been in a position where any morsel of outside help to relieve your burdens was welcomed and appreciated. As independent as we may try to be, there is truth in our need for community.

Everyone has the ability to contribute to the health of a society, and it doesn’t have to be financial, though donations are typically a widely accepted form of assistance. Humanitarian efforts could be as simple as checking on an elderly neighbor in this summer heat, asking a working parent if their child needs a ride home from an after-school practice, donating your garden’s extra produce to a local food bank, or volunteering at a community outreach program for kids or veterans.

Another way to help is to acknowledge others for the role they play in your life. Never miss that opportunity to celebrate another person. Be vocal about your gratitude for their presence; say thank you and be conscious of positive habits. A recent conversation with a friend took me by surprise when he said he’d been a thief his entre life – a thief of positive traits. He honors others by mirroring their admirable qualities to pay it forward.

The purpose behind World Humanitarian Day is to celebrate those who go above and beyond for others in need, but it also brings about awareness of the people in this world who need what we can offer. It doesn’t have to be a huge showing to make an impact; the point is to simply show up however you can. When people help people, even the smallest gestures have potential to make big differences in the health of our communities.