21 Days: Giving purpose to my paranoia.

So, this week I’m stocking up on Purell, and Clorox wipes, and Lysol.  No no!  Not because of Ebola!!!  No no.  Just cold and flu season.  And maybe enterovirus.  Because I’m rational.  Right?  I would never let my own irrational fears dictate my behaviors.  Right?  Right.  Just COLDS and FLUS… #maybeopposite

I know, I know.  You’re already sick of hearing/talking about it.  We’ve especially got Ebola fatigue in northeast Ohio after this week’s news.  I just got a call from my kids’ school, reassuring all parents that we are at no risk of Ebola, but to make sure and disclose all our children’s sick day symptoms — just in case.

With pretty much every news flash, yesterday, I HAD to find some hand sanitizer and use it.  I know.  My family is not really at risk.  I know.  But even though my beautiful, brilliant noggin has processed all that information, the pesky butterflies in my stomach tend to settle if I ceremoniously pump a bit of sanitizer gel.  My husband summed it up pretty well–it’s like the fear some people have of air travel.  You KNOW the stats that you’re way more likely to crash in a car, but if you DO happen to crash in a plane you’re pretty much toast.  Yeah.

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First of all, let me point out that I have the prettiest hand sanitizer in the world, thanks to my harvest themed nose blowing station in the picture.  (Note: Another one of my grapevine wreaths, and I hope to tell you more about this easy hand sanitizer cozy in the near future. #teachergifts)

But also, I just want to think about the response I actually do want to take to Ebola.  The message from our leaders has been “Don’t panic,” which is really reassuring when it’s followed by, “This hospital/CDC/humans weren’t cautious enough…”  But average Jill Shmills like you and me can’t do much beyond asking, “How can we help?”

I’m not an expert, but my understanding is that ebola would not have taken this hold were it not for profound poverty crippling efforts to contain it.  Yes, in America the perceived threat is much greater than the actual threat, but West Africa will suffer from this outbreak for generations as the ramifications to their familial, economic, and healthcare structures unfold.  Ramifications that do, in one way or another, tend to impact surrounding areas and the world at large.  Maybe I’m naive, but wouldn’t it make sense to rally around Ebola in the same way we rally around natural disasters and ice buckets?

So, while I’m no philanthropist, I’m giving myself a very small challenge for the next 21 days:  For every dollar I spend on my OCD comforts (e.g. hand sanitizer, bleach, anti-viral snake oil), to match with a dollar donated toward fighting Ebola in West Africa.

$10 on Purell –> $10 to World Vision’s Ebola efforts.  (Basically helping them distribute gloves, masks, and other hygiene items to clinics in affected areas.)

Of course Ebola, while it makes a sensational news story, maybe shouldn’t draw funds away from other charities we choose to support, so for me, this small challenge is just a short term adjustment we’ll hardly even notice in the grocery budget, but it will sooth my conscience to put something toward families that can’t just run to Walgreens for Lysol and hand soap.

Pretty simple, probably not all that significant, but these little baby steps are ways we slowly change the world, or at very least, our hearts.  Right?

-Mac-

P.S. Tell me in the comments if you decide to take this challenge, too!  Also feel free to link up other trustworthy charitable organizations that are on top of this!

P.P.S.  Here’s a great podcast on the history and science of Ebola.