Helping at home VS Helping abroad

Something else that has been bothering me over the past few days... For any of you who read my blog and/or my Twitter feed know that I am very much aware of what is going on in this world, always strive to learn and understand more, and am pretty focused on what is happening in different African countries and want to help create a better life for people who literally have nothing right now, and whose children have nothing. There is a severe need for not only reactive response (emergency aid for war and famine victims), but also proactive response (education, political stability, safety etc etc). I'm not saying that throwing money to all different types of organisations is the answer, but there are many actions one can take to help, that don't actually cost money (or very little at all). I've posted a lot of links below.

I usually ask people the question "so what are YOU doing", and hope that this will raise some type of awareness. The other day I asked someone this same question and was given the response of "well if it's not happening right in front of me then it doesn't really exist". Cue frothing at the mouth with anger on my part (deep breaths before continuing), as this is a standard response that makes me want to bop people on the head. Then said individual went on to say that he is a strong believer in helping out at home before looking to help other countries. To which I gave my standard response of "well there aren't millions of people dying of starvation in this country though are there?!".

And then I started to think. Is he right? Should I spend more time looking at what is happening around me? Am I trying to help people who are beyond help when I could be helping people next door? Are there REALLY thousands of people dying of starvation in this country?

So let's do the research and a little comparison. Nothing really beats hard facts when faced with them:

Hunger:
MOWAAF survey in 2007: 750,000 seniors suffering from hunger ( I couldn't seem to find stats for non-seniors in the limited search that I just did on the internet)
WFP Stats: There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the US, Canada and the European Union.

Child mortality:
US, 2006: 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births
World Bank, 2009: 128.2 deaths per 1,000 live births

(Please don't hate me for my less than deep research - I would do a better job if I gave myself more time, but I think these stats just show what we all know anyway).

So, I'm still confused. Or maybe confused isn't the word... Thinking too much into this? Should I do something at home too? Work in a soup kitchen? Tutor young kids for free? I think that can never be a bad idea, right? In the end, the only reason that I keep thinking about this is that I now feel that I am not doing enough. But at least I am doing something.

UNHCR
Women for Women
Plan USA
UNICEF
War Child Canada
NYCCAH
MNP