Once again my professional life has been run over by a metaphorical 18-wheeler, which is why I haven't written this post sooner. As it often and tragically does, the universe has provided us all some perspective on just how not-tragic our lives are at the moment through the earthquake in Haiti and subsequent destruction. If you're on the internetz, the I trust you've heard about the earthquake and know that the common theme in all the news coverage is total destruction and suffering in a place that already suffers so much, so I won't beleaguer that point
I do want to share this article which explains how your well-intentioned donation to relief efforts could actually end up hurting instead of helping. Basically it boils down to this: money donations = good ... in-kind donations, while well-intentioned, get in the way of what's needed. The best thing you can do is give money. When given to the right relief organizations, money will be used for EXACTLY WHAT IS NEEDED WHEN IT IS NEEDED. I realize none of us have a lot of money to spare but as always -- EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS.
So where to give? Go to the trusted organizations that you know are putting your money to good use and make every effort to keep overhead costs down. Here are the ones I recommend:
1. American Red Cross. Visit the website to donate or send a $10 donation by texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999 (will be billed to your phone bill). The Red Cross works to provide the necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter and medical care following a disaster.
2. Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF's aid is more medically oriented. This is one of the best-organized relief groups out there. Visit the website to donate.
3. Catholic Relief Services. Haiti is predominately Catholic, and many Catholic churches in America sponsor clinics, schools, orphanages, etc. there. Catholic Relief Services, which has long had a presence in Haiti, is working there now to provide basics such as food, water and temporary shelter. Visit the website to donate (there's also an option at the website to use your phone to donate).
If those three don't suit you, that's fine, but if you choose to donate (and I hope you do!), make sure you research your charity of choice. Know where your donation is going. Check out Charity Navigator and Guidestar. There will be scammers out there operating what sound like and look like legit charities and they will gladly take your money.
(Cheers to Twitter friend @thesnarkyone for article tip)