Despite Rush Limbaugh’s belief that we give enough help to Haiti already (“it’s called the income tax…”), there is still room for good when some part of the world gets hit by a natural disaster. You can donate sneakers to http://www.soles4souls.org/. But beware of misguided internet scams. For instance, if you put together a care package and rush to UPS, they won’t ship it for free. Some suggest that rather than donating goods, which might be hard to distribute at this point, it’s better to give money to a worthy relief organization. Here are some suggestions from the Daily Beast.
• The Red Cross: You can give $10 to the Red Cross’s International Response Fund by texting HAITI to 90999. 100 percent of your donation benefits the Red Cross, and you can print a receipt through mGive, a foundation that helps non-profits take advantage of mobile technology.
• UNICEF, the United Nations Fund focusing on children, has worked on the ground in Haiti since 1949, so has the expertise to make a difference. You can donate here.
• Doctors Without Borders is also present in-country. One senior staff member reports, “The situation is chaotic. I visited five medical centers, including a major hospital, and most of them were not functioning.” Donate to support public health efforts here.
• MADRE, the international women’s rights NGO, partners with the Zanmi Lasante Clinic on the ground in Haiti. “The most urgent needs right now are bandages, broad-spectrum antibiotics and other medical supplies, as well as water tablets to prevent cholera outbreaks,” MADRE reports. Donate here.
• Action Against Hunger has had a team in Haiti since 1985, and is ready to fly planeloads of emergency supplies from Paris to Port-au-Prince. Food is one necessity, but so is sanitation; in some Haitian towns, 70 percent of homes do not have plumbing. Donate here.
• Mercy Corps has a history of deploying aid to regions affected by catastrophic earthquakes, such as Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year. They are deploying a team to Haiti, and you can support their efforts here.
• Partners in Health is the NGO founded in Haiti in 1987 by Dr. Paul Farmer, the celebrated physician and anthropologist who focuses on international social justice. The group’s emergency response focuses on delivering medical supplies and staff. Louise Ivers, PIH’s clinical director in the country, sent the message, “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS.” Donate here.
•Wyclef Jean’s Haiti-focused foundation, Yele, had established a Haiti Earthquake Fund. Donate here, or give $5 by texting YElE to 501501.
• The International Rescue Committee, which in the past has resettled Haitian refugees in the United States, is deploying an Emergency Response Team to assist overwhelmed local aid groups. It will focus on critical medical, water, and sanitation assistance. Donate here.
Feel free to comment with any suggestions you’ve got.