As you’ve heard, millions of children are starving to death in South Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. “A month ago,” according to the NYT, “the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, warned that 20 million people would fall into famine if his aid agencies could not corral $4.4 billion by the end of March.” They’re billions short.
On top of the Syria chemical weapons news, I don’t know how to wake up and feed my kids and deal with this news. How do we reconcile the fact that we have self-driving cars and will likely go to Mars soon while millions of children can barely walk they’re so weak? Since hearing the first NPR story on this, a few times a day I want to curl up into a fetal position and bawl or vomit. I want to run away. I want to drop everything and fly there to volunteer. I want to squeeze our boys and never let them go. I feel like the whole world should stop and say, “ok, nothing else happens until these kids are not eating grass and getting gassed.” (I know that’s Syria, but it’s all connected.)
We are struggling here too. Life is hard for rich and poor alike. We have responsibilities – our own families to feed and jobs to do. But I was thinking about it and my primary job right now is marketing my new book, All Our Waves Are Water, going on book tour, etc. But even knowing the power of stories to do good, it feels strange to be putting so much energy into selling a book about world travel, surfing, spiritual fulfillment, and joy, when millions of kids can’t even approach these ideas because they are too weak to play.
I don’t know if this just a way to deal with my own privilege. But I know that I need to do something to pair this media / book selling push with helping at least one kid in South Sudan find food. I was offering a free children’s book for anyone who pre-ordered All Our Waves. I’m changing that. From today onward, anyone who pre-orders a book – which is available anywhere books are sold – send me a receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll donate the $1 I get from each book (and that’s ALL we authors get) to UNHCR’s Refugee program for South Sudan.
I know this isn’t much. And, of course, it’s better if you donated all $17 you’d spend on my book directly to the UN. But if you want the book and also want to make sure 100-percent of the author’s money goes to hunger relief, then this is the way to do it. I welcome other suggestions of what we all can do.
Also, I’m not going to donate $1 at a time, but at the end of each month I’ll donate, say, $100 for a 100 copies. And my friend Lisa Morris Frame has agreed to match this grant up to $250, so that will mean double for the first 250 copies. Any other matchers out there? A more peaceful, just world is possible.