From the Editors: Signaling for help
Unfortunately, many pleas for help are neither seen nor heard, however visible or loud the distress signals
It's no easy thing to ask for help. Yes, there is sometimes pride involved — think of all the dads out there aimlessly wandering the aisles of their local hardware stores right now, how many roundabout odysseys for cordless electric drill bits and toilet flusher handles might've ended if well-meaning store associates weren't prematurely shrugged off. Those dads should be grateful — after all, outside the retail world, how many of us wouldn't love to be immediately directed to exactly what we want or need?
Can I help you find anything today? Sure, show me the way to peace and quiet; to that funny thing I thought of the other day; to reconciliation with an estranged friend or family member; to redemption for a past wrong; to self-confidence and fulfillment. There are countless items that we as individuals and as a society seek, for which we can't simply scan a barcode or look up an SKU. Instead, we bargain and haggle, bartering time and energy for the mere chance.
Unfortunately, many pleas for help are neither seen nor heard, however visible or loud the distress signal. In fact, a good deal of them are ignored entirely. We're not talking about flares shot off by crash victims lost in endless expanses of wilderness or open sea; we're talking about problems in plain sight, voices within immediate earshot of our community. Some of their fires have been billowing smoke for decades, proving that as hard as it can be to ask for help, it can be even more difficult to receive it.
How long have we witnessed the ravages of racial inequality? The destruction and degradation of our environment and its continued detriment to our health and happiness? The underfunding of public education and the gulfs it's widened? The repercussions of selfish shortsightedness and negligence? These issues and many others are still out there. You don't need an eagle's vision to spot the flames or a bloodhound's nose to smell the fumes. You only need the conscience to care and the courage to act.
Erie Gives Day is never going to put out all of the fires — but each year, it offers anyone with an altruistic heart the coordinates to those signaling for help. Helmed by the Erie Community Foundation, the annual charity drive has raised over $26 million for area nonprofits since its inception, and has no plans of stopping anytime soon, coronavirus be damned. Log onto eriegives.org on Tuesday, Aug. 11, anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Their nonprofit search can help you find any cause you might want to donate to (check out our staff picks for inspiration).
In a year that has taken so much from us, it might be harder to give. But it's never been more important.