Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please help Haiti

If you have turned on the television or opened up an on-line news site, you will have seen the devastating images of the earthquake aftermath in Haiti. The pictures of the survivors and heartbreaking. The news that thousands may be dead/dying is horrendous. And in the wake of this disaster, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and to wonder:

"What can I do?"

Well, according to experts who work in areas of charitable donations and massive natural, global disasters, what you can do at this very moment is to give money. Although they do caution that you should be careful about where you are giving your money to. Southern Man, who is in the coffee biz, has put together change bottles where customers can donate their change and it will go to Haiti disaster relief. But, of course, they must trust that Southern Man will actually donate that money to a reputable aid organization (he plans to take the proceeds to Red Cross). The regular customers who know him are more likely to trust him, but I think we should all be wary about random solicitations on-line or in person.

So I thought I would help by listing two different organizations that will guarantee that your donations will make it into the hands of Haitians to aid in the recovery:

*Yele Haiti. This is an organization that Wyclef Jean (formerly of the Fugees for those who knew them back in the day) created in 2005 to bring awareness to the issues that Haiti faces. Their website is now devoted to the issue of earthquake relief. They are also making donation very simple:

Text "Yele" to 501501 and you will donate $5.00 to their organization for aid to Haiti [you will be charged $5.00 on your cell phone bill].

If you go to their website you can donate a larger amount on-line.

*The American Red Cross. The Red Cross really has been at the forefront of every major disaster in the U.S. and around the world, giving aid and relief to those in need. I usually pick them as my organization of choice for donations to countries or regions suffering from huge natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, or hurricanes. Like Yele, they have made it simple to make a donation:

Text "HAITI" to 90999 and $10.00 will go to the Red Cross for aid to Haiti [again, you will have a $10.00 charge on your cell phone bill]

And if you want to donate more, you can do so on-line at the American Red Cross website.

And if you want to make sure that both these organizations are legitimate, see this piece on the CNN website with Anderson Cooper interviewing Wyclef Jean. But whatever you do, even if it's just $5.00, please donate to help the people in Haiti.

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