Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If you're thinking about helping with Haiti relief, do it now

Yesterday's earthquake in Haiti couldn't have happened in a worse place. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and this quake hit only a few miles from Port-au-Prince--the country's capital.
In 1998, after Hurricane Mitch hit, I went to Nicaragua to help with disaster relief. It's heartbreaking to see the results of such devastation, but I learned something while I was there. That is, that everybody wants to help, but they don't know how. Boat loads of clothes and goods were shipped there, many of which were diverted from those who needed them most due to some pretty blatant corruption. And frankly, a lot of goods that people donated were not even needed or helpful.

If you want to help I recommend you donate money. Money that can be intelligently used to purchase goods and services there that will not only help people in need, but will help get the local economy back on track as quickly as possible. Here is a list posted in the NY Times today of organizations that will take donations that will be used immediately in Haiti. We just donated to the Red Cross. If you're thinking of helping please just do it right this second. Agencies can only plan based on what they have available to them. That's where we can all help by making a donation now.

Please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. I can't imagine the pain, terror and anguish that tens of thousands of people are suffering this very moment. May God grant them peace. And help now. -Monica

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