Thursday, January 14, 2010

Step 14: How to Help in Haiti

I’ve been watching the news unfold around the tragic earthquake that shook Haiti to the core on Tuesday afternoon. My friend, Ellie, just returned on Sunday from a mission trip to Port-au-Prince and to hear about the news of the Earthquake only 48 hours before the earthquake struck was an eye-opening experience. I could very easily have lost my friend if her trip was just a day or two longer.

CNN and NBC have done a tremendous job getting the word out, showing the images and telling the stories of the people in Haiti, encouraging the much-needed generosity of the world to pour into this tiny country. In 24 hours, a cell phone text campaign raised millions of dollars. Thanks for social media, it takes so little effort on our part to lend a hand, and in this situation every little bit helps.

I’m finding it difficult to go about my usual business in light of the disaster. I just don’t feel like I’m doing enough. The images are haunting me and are never far from my mind. I keep visiting internet news sites to get the latest updates. In an effort to do more, I wanted to post today’s step on this blog to list four ways that we can all get involved in the relief efforts right now:

1.) Twitter users can quickly get word of the latest updates and relief efforts, particularly from people on the ground in Haiti, by searching
#Haiti, #haitiquake, #RedCross, #CARE, #ONE.

2.) Give much needed funding to the efforts of organizations like the American Red Cross,, and CARE. While there is a desire to give goods in these types of situations, monetary donations are more efficient because relief agencies can use the funds to buy the most-needed items in bulk. Cash is the best way to give during disasters of this magnitude.

Anybody with a cell phone account with a major carrier can donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting "Haiti" to the number 90999. The donation appears on the giver's bill. Online fundraising company mGive launched the campaign yesterday together with the State Department and the Red Cross.

3.) Does your organization offer a charitable contribution match? If so, donate through your organization to make your gift go even further in Haiti. Better yet, contact the head of philanthropic giving at your company to see if a communication can be sent to employees. The company will likely not request donations, though the communication could just serve as a reminder that in these types of situations, company matching of charitable dollars is a wonderful employee benefit.

4.) This will be a LONG TERM relief effort in Haiti. While it is tough for anyone aside from military, media, and search and rescue teams to get to Haiti, many organizations will be organizing volunteers in the coming months, perhaps years. and the American Red Cross are great places to start if you’re interested in lending a hand on the ground with any vacation or personal time you may have.

The situation in Haiti prior to the earthquake was dire. Now it’s reached catastrophic proportions. Extraordinary circumstances can lead us to help others in extraordinary ways. We have the opportunity to do something extraordinary today, right now. The people of Haiti need our love and support now more than ever.
The image above is not my own. It depicts the tragic devastation of Port-au-Prince. Photo Credit: AFP


Katherine Jenkins said...

Thanks for writing this. I had a similar experience to yours and wrote about it. My friend, who is Haitian but lives in the US, just returned from doing service in an orphanage in Haiti only days before the earthquake struck. It prompted me to write a blog on how every little bit helps.

Thanks for your post, I'm following you now...peace, Kathy

Katherine Jenkins said...

Talk about synchronicity...not only did we both write about helping out in Haiti, but I have also been writing 365 lessons on my blog Lessons From The Monk I Married. Glad to find you...maybe the world is getting "in tune" and we will all work together. I hope so! Peace to you, Kathy

Christa said...

Hi Kathy,
I am following your blog as well. I love it. Isn't it amazing how much good we can do in the world with such little effort on our part. Continuing to pray and do what I can to help the people of Haiti...

Kristin Bair O'Keeffe said...

Thanks, Christa, for penning such a clear, heartfelt post. It's hard to wake every day to the news as things in Haiti deteriorate. But as helpless as I feel, it's good to be reminded that I can help. Might feel like baby steps, but lots of baby make big steps.

Christa said...

I feel the same way, Kristin. We will all need to pitch in together. This situation is too big for any nation, much less any of us individually, to tackle alone. This will require a global effort, with all of us swaying and giving together.

Christa said...

Kathy! I thought the exact same thing. I love your blog and learning from your lessons. Excellent title and premise for a book. Can't wait to read more!

Laura Cococcia said...

So so glad you wrote this, Christa. I am devastated by the news and I know there are so many efforts to help right now, which is amazing. It was so helpful for you to do a "round up" of sorts so we can get involved in a number of ways - even just Tweeting helps - wow, unbelievable how we've evolved with communication. xo

Christa said...

Hi Laura! It's so unbelievable what's happening in that area of the world. The people of Haiti need us so much right now. I may be heading down there once there is a call for on-the-ground volunteers, which I am sure they will need. If you want to go, too, let me know!