This is the very last Sensors Weekly of 2009, a year that marked Sensors 25th Anniversary and saw us launch our new Web site. On the other hand, 2009 was also marked by a still weak global economy. The unemployment rate is scary high, business is still not back to normal, and an awful lot of people in the U.S. are looking at a fairly grim holiday season. To this end, how about doing something nice for your fellow humans?
The first thing you can do is to support your local food bank. You can find one local to you through the Feeding America site (that used to be called America's Second Harvest). You can also see if your local food pantries need help. Volunteer, donate food, or donate money; food bank use is up an average of 30% from last year. For a more international flavor, you can check out The Hunger Project, dedicated to ending world hunger in a sustainable way.
Next to food in order of importance comes shelter. So how about a little support for Habitat for Humanity, who've been working to bring affordable housing to poor or homeless people around the world? Or The International Rescue Committee that works to help refugees, displaced people, and civilians caught in war zones? Or—one of my favorites—Médecins Sans Frontières, that provides emergency medical care wherever it's needed?
There is no lack of charitable organizations, but sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a given charity will give you the biggest bang for your buck. The American Institute of Philanthropy maintains the Charity Watch Web site, where it rates the various humanitarian and philanthropic organizations based on their efficiency, financial openness, and other qualities. Alternatively, you can examine the ratings assigned by Charity Navigator.
Finally, I hope that 2009 treated you well and that 2010 turns out to be a better, brighter, and happier year. Happy holidays and we'll see you in January 2010.