by Cynthia Caron
First let me say, I am so very sorry for the way the Karen Klein, the 68 year old woman on the bus, who was treated horribly by the bratty bullying teens with terrible words hurled at the woman. Nobody deserves to be treated that way and those that did the bullying should need to have to make amends by community service, assisting those who cannot help themselves is a good thought, supervised of course.
But I must add...am I right to feel this way? $400,000 raised by caring people from around the world? I want nothing more than to see Karen Klein be able to use that money to fund her living expenses so that she doesn't have to work if she chooses not to. Also to use it towards enjoying precious times with her 8 grandchildren without having to worry how to come up with extra money for each of their birthdays.
However, with that said, I cannot help feeling very sad. Maybe even a bit jealous? It is so hard to raise funds for our 501c3 nonprofit in which we assist law enforcement and families of missing loved ones. Not just "missing" as in, "where is Uncle Joe that moved to Arizona years ago?" and not "I wonder where my high school friend went? I've not heard from him/her in years?" Those are not missing loved ones. Missing loved ones are somebody's child, no matter the age, that disappeared off the face of the earth in the middle of a normal life. One who did not show up to work and was not home for a very important family event. One who would NEVER go missing on their own. One who has children at home wondering where their mommy or daddy is and family not knowing how to explain except to say "We are looking, honey." Why can't their pain and the awful roller coaster ride of not knowing if their child is alive or dead not touch the hearts of the same people who donated to Karen Klein?
I know fundraising is very difficult, trust me…we do it all of the time…yet, our nonprofit existed of 85% of donations by myself out of my own personal funds and those of a few staff members. I know other nonprofits helping families of missing and doing search and rescue experience the very same situation. Our nonprofit, for example, asks for very little. Perhaps a $5.00 donation. If 100 people donated $5.00 that would be $500 and would cover the costs of printing posters for missing loved ones for four families. A far cry from what we really need but every penny helps. We are all 100% volunteers, as are most nonprofits who do not have government grants. We do not draw salaries and our funds are running short. We are doing all possible to reach out and get the public to please take notice of our work, of the pain our families are enduring and of the many more things we want to do for them…and are struggling due to funding. Bank accounts that hold less than $600.
As stated, this is not only for LostNMissing Inc, this is also a problem our families of missing are enduring, as well. They depend on us for services, yet at the same time many are trying to raise funds for searches to bring their children's bodies home. Now that is sad. , Thus far this year we've only raised $1,256 for our organization from public donations. Our families raise an average of $5,000 (if they are lucky) and yet....over $400,000 has gone towards helping this woman who had to endure kids disrespecting her in the most nasty way. WHY do people not care to donate to help find missing loved ones, too? Am I wrong for feeling this way?
It is frustrating. Over 2000 loved ones go missing EVERY DAY. Families are having to halt searches when they have very good leads, media coverage only goes so far...billboards are needed for awareness and the cost is unbelievable! Families need to increase or add rewards. We are of the firm believe that EVERYONE missing...someone holds the answers. We need people to be more accountable to helping these families...people need to have a conscience who have information that can help these families. I believe the reason donations are not coming in is because the general public has no idea what it is like to lose a missing loved one. It doesn't touch their hearts" in the way that they want to help because they've never experienced it" or they feel it is "well covered" or that it happens "so rarely" that it is not truly a cause to support. How wrong they are. Every missing person is someone's missing child.
The networks have reality shows from "evicting people from their apartments" to "chasing hogs in the wild" and they need to really re-focus and start doing some reality shows of what it is like to be a parent of a missing child. Perhaps walk in the shoes of families and the roller coaster ride of pain to see what they are going through. Now that is reality. I hope producers out there start thinking of helping families of missing instead of sensationalizing people who eat drywall and rocks. And I hope those who have the means to donate will consider donating towards any and all organizations that are struggling, without government grants, and who are all 100% volunteers trying to help these families of missing.
Here are just a few nonprofit organizations that are in need of funding:
www.lostnmissing.com LostNMissing Inc.
www.lrcf.org Laura Recovery Center
www.blackandmissinginc.com Black & Missing Foundation
www.ncmissingpersons.org Cue Center
www.projectjason.org Project Jason
www.kristenfoundation.org Kristen Foundation
http://heidisearchcenter.com Heidi Search Center
Won't you take a moment today and donate whatever you can afford? Even if only $5.00. Every bit helps.