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With all the news and pictures of the devastation in Haiti that we are being bombarded with, many of us want to do our part to help out. The Christian Messenger has compiled an article to show the steps you can take and the things you need to keep in mind when looking to donate during a crisis.
When a disaster similar to the earthquake in Haiti strikes, high energy biscuits are the food staple that U.N. World Food Programme likes to distribute. The biscuits are highly favored because of they are light-weight and are packed with nutrition, making them easy to distribute and stabilize initial hunger. The food bars give victims energy and have plenty of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
Statistics show the harsh reality of the hunger issues that Haiti is facing and how it was not much better even before the earthquake. The U.N. World Food Programme has gathered those statistics on the hunger that Haiti struggles with daily. Within 24 hours of the earthquake hit, the WFP had begun to distribute food and are attempting to construct food kitchens. If you would like to make a donation through the WFP or spread the word, visit here.
The first things hundreds of people did after the earthquake hit Haiti was to log onto Facebook. People looking to get any information they can are using Facebook to post pictures and descriptions of friends and family that are now missing. One Facebook group, Earthquake Haiti, has 12,000 members and counting, as the need for people's whereabouts grows. Other search engines created for the purpose of re-connecting friends and families are CNN and the New York Times. The U.S. Department of State website lists numbers and an email contact for U.S. for those requesting assistance or to report missing individuals.
When a disaster hits, everyone wants to do their part in helping out. Unfortunately, this is also the perfect time for scammers to target do-gooders. If you want to make a donation, but are not sure where to start, Charity Navigator is a website that ranks charities from A-Z so you know a little more about who you are donating to. The Daily Beast and MSN have also provided a list of trustworthy charitable organizations. Remember to look for signs that show a website may be a scam.
While airlines have suspended all commercial flights to Haiti in light of the recent earthquake, AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle, has flown in 30,000 pounds of supplies in relief aid with more flights to follow today and tomorrow. For frequent-flier members who make donations to the Red Cross, AMR Corp. is offering AAdvantage bonus miles through February 28th to its members based on the donation amount. To donate, visit http://bit.ly/4V9OzO.
HERO (Health and Education Relief Organization) is a nonprofit organization based in Georgia that is dedicated to helping the children of Haiti through the building of medical and educational structures and the provision of clean water and resources for waste management. HERO is one of the many charitable organizations that is conducting transportation of medical supplies, food, and personnel to Haiti. To make donations, visit http://www.herononprofit.org/.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian agency that has been active in Haiti for thirty years. The organization is working to distribute first aid kits. They are also handing out necessities such as soap, blankets, clothes, and water to survivors. Cash donations can be made on the World Vision website to help victims and read more about the disaster. You can even follow World Vision News on Twitter to stay updated on World Vision relief efforts.
While one may not initially think of Walmart as a charity, the company prides itself on making positive changes across many communities. Recently, the Walmart Foundation announced its $500,000 dollar donation to the Red Cross along with $100,000 estimated in pre-packaged food kits for the victims in Haiti. President and CEO of Walmart International Doug McMillon stated, “At Walmart, helping communities is what we do every day around the world, especially in times of need.” The Walmart Foundation has also set-up a website that is linked to the Red Cross for those who would like to make a donation to help earthquake victims in Haiti.
Wyclef Jean, Grammy Award-winning musician, humanitarian and Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti, founded Yéle Haiti in 2005. Their mission: “to create small-scale, manageable and replicable projects to contribute to Haiti's long-term progress.” Since Haiti is Jean's native country, this project holds deep meaning for him. He coined the term “yele” in a song; it means “a cry for freedom.” The recent earthquake in Haiti has created a new sense of urgency in Jean's project. You can donate any amount on the website (www.yele.org/donation/), $5 or by texting “YELE” to 501501.
Founded in 1992, Heart to Heart International provides medical education, delivers medical aid to hospitals and clinics, responds to people in crisis, and addresses community health concerns around the world. Their main goal? “Making the world a healthier place to live and work.”
Heart to Heart has four ways you can give aid to Haiti.
Oxfam has a 200-person staff on the ground in Haiti, and a 15-person team of highly-experienced emergency specialists in the capital providing public health, water and sanitation services to prevent the spread of waterborne disease.
According to Michael Delaney, Oxfam America's director of humanitarian response department, “The first step in an emergency will be getting clean water to people who need it as we know from experience that shocks like this disrupt water lines, and transportation is completely broken down." They expect their response will be long term, considering the quake's severity and the poverty of the nation.
To donate: www.oxfamamerica.org, (1-800-77-OXFAM), by fax (1-617-728-2562) or by mail (Oxfam America, Haiti Earthquake Response Fund, PO Box 1211, Albert Lea, MN 56007-1211).
Since the devastation in Haiti occurred, reported to be the second most devastating quake in recorded history, social media networks have been flooded with support and concern for Haiti. Searching Twitter for the hashtag (the method for creating topical conversations on Twitter) Haiti, will get you thousands of real-time results. In less than a minute after searching, over 2,000 more tweets were sent out with #Haiti. One of the many subjects of these tweets was the call to donate to various charities via text message. Cell phone users can donate through a system the Mobile Giving Foundation set up, allowing charities to collect money by text messages. One hundred percent of all donations are forwarded to the charities.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western world with more than 85 percent of people already living in poverty. Many of the homes were poorly constructed and ill equipped to withstand the earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter scale. The earthquake struck at 4:53pm local time, with the epicenter 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. This was the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 1751. The Disaster Emergency Committee launched the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal yesterday. Donate at www.dec.org.uk. Life.com remembers Haiti before the devastation.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|