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In the past 72 hours you’ve likely been deluged by the devastating images and video footage coming out of Japan. It is just heart breaking: the utter devastation, entire families and villages lost and people in other countries just waiting and praying that their loved ones are safe. But what the news isn’t telling you about Japan is that they are the world’s most heavily indebted nation. What does that mean? Well, people talk in America about our National Debt quite often and how high it is. Japan’s is much greater than ours. For their tiny nation it’s around $12.2 trillion.
The way debt works is that to raise money for your own country, you sell treasury bills or bonds. Someone has to buy these bonds and that’s how you raise money. Here in America, they are called T-Bills and the Chinese government and large multi-national companies buy ours. In Japan this is not the case, most bonds issued are purchased by domestic Japanese companies.
So what does this mean in terms of the earthquake and tsunami? Well, it means that the Japanese government will have a very hard time raising the money needed to help their own people and nation. The domestic companies who typically purchase bonds may be unable to purchase them because they too were affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Additionally, Japanese markets aren’t faring well in the wake of the disaster.
So, like much poorer nations, Japan will have to rely heavily on foreign aid and help from NGOs and other aid organizations. This is where you can really help.
:: Pray – Lift up the nation of Japan in prayer. Pray for peace, comfort, hope and above all for miracles.
:: Give – I know our economy isn’t the best and money is especially tight. However, think about how devastating it would be if everything you owned just washed away in a flood of water and you were left with nothing. If the person were your friend, neighbor, sister, cousin, what would you do? I urge you to give whatever you can – even if it’s just $5.
- Red Cross: This is an organization known around the world as one of the first responders in crisis situations. Any amount will help bring food, water and medical supplies to those in need. Text REDCROSS to 90999. This will send a $10 donation to the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.
- Salvation Army: You may only associate Salvation Army with the bell ringers at Christmastime but the Salvation Army has a large international presence. They are an organization with very large reach like the Red Cross but with a Christian emphasis. Right now they have three emergency service relief teams working in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. One of the teams is assisting people who have been evacuated from areas threatened by the damage of nuclear power plants. You can also text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 and make an instant donation.
- Heart to Heart International: Heart to Heart International was one of the first humanitarian organizations to respond to the devastating earthquake in Haiti and is one of the few organizations still there providing healing and hope. Not only do they mobilize quickly but they stay and help people in need even after others have moved on. Plus, Only 2% of all donations are used to cover overhead. That means 98% of what you send will actually make it to the quake ravaged areas.
I know there are those of you that are so devastated by our own economy you can’t imagine giving what little you have. There are quite a few ideas on ways even the most cash strapped person can give. One of my favorite ideas is to go meatless. Eating meat can be expensive. Cut out 2 or 3 meats meals this week. When your kids or spouse ask why, tell them you’re sending your meat to Japan. Take the $5 you save and donate it to one of the worthwhile organizations above.
Leave a comment on this post today (3/14) and Saving with Shellie will donate $1 for every comment up to $250 to Heart to Heart International. Tell me how you are helping or just type your prayer for the Japanese people.
You can also blog hop and donate money by leaving comments on other blogs. Here are a few of those participating:
- A Thrifty Mom
- “Cents”able Momma
- Frugal Coupon Living
- Groupon Girl
- MoJo Savings
- Moms Need to Know
- Nicole’s Nickels
- Penny Pinchin’ Mom
Thank you for participating. I know together we can make a huge impact.
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