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Ways to Help the People of Haiti

14 Jan 2010

EDIT: I’m leaving this post at the top of my blog for a week. Keep up the support.

Unless you’ve been wearing your ass over your head the last day — and I suspect some of you have — you’ll have heard the horrible news about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. According to the Red Cross, as many as three million people may have been affected by the quake, which collapsed government buildings, caused major damage to hospitals, and made electricity, communication, and general access to certain areas very difficult.

1. Make a cash donation at Red Cross (www.redcross.org), Yéle Haiti (www.yele.org), UNICEF (www.unicef.org), or other organizations today. Spirit Airlines is offering free flights to anyone who donates more than $5 to these above three.

2. Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999; $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill and donated to the Red Cross relief effort.

3. If you can’t spare the money, at least spare a few clicks on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, by e-mail so that people who can spare some change can be compelled to do so. Join a group; let people know in your status. Also, until tomorrow, if you follow @boblesko on Twitter, he will donate $10 to the relief effort on your behalf.

4. Don’t try to help by donating goods. Global Post reports that it could actually hurt Haiti, as time and effort is wasted on sorting out the items. Despite the kind intentions, aid packages can sometimes be put together poorly, in languages aid workers cannot read, and include goods of uncertain or suspect quality. By giving money instead, the organisations can properly direct their resources with the greatest efficiency.

5. Hold a fundraiser — a community bake sale or pizza sale can earn funds towards helping out. Organise sponsors for a group event (a marathon or a read-a-thon to promote community wellness and education, maybe).

My hopes for Haiti’s recovery and my condolences to the suffering. And I think it a good time to be reminded that this isn’t the only tragedy that happens daily. How can we even begin to help all the suffering in the world?

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