Friday, January 15, 2010

How Can I Help People in Haiti Today?

"Think how you would feel if you lost everything? You were wandering around streets at night, they were all dark; you were tripping over bodies, living and dead, and you didn't have water to drink or food to eat. That's what we're facing now. That's what we've got to get through now." -Bill Clinton, speaking about Haiti

Are you frustrated in seemingly being unable to give something to the Haitian people that would take immediate effect today? There is no shortage of aid to Haiti, promised or ready to deliver, sitting in airplanes on runways, on ships, in US warehouses. Lists of trustworthy charities are easily found, but how long until they get aid to the people? Meantime, reports indicate that almost nothing has been distributed to the people in Port au Prince, in a post-crisis fog of war. The problem is sheer logistics: limited runway space, no fuel for return flights, a destroyed port, a government which was fragile at best before the quake now mostly missing.

While we have all have heard reports on TV how NGO's are having problems finding local partners in Haiti to help with relief, we have found 2 very different local institutions whose story might interest you enough to make a donation that might just be put to work today. While I am sure there are many more, the sheer time involved in locating them and researching them is enormous.

First is a hospital Haiti run by the Knights of Malta, who have a history stretching back about 1,000 years in serving the poor and injured. Hôpital Sacré Coeur, located in the town of Milot, in nothern Haiti (across the country from Port au Prince) is undamaged and serving Haitians right this very minute. The hospital is open, operating, and ready to provide care. They will serve as a triage site for Project Hope and will be (or already are) accepting patients from Port au Prince via helicopter. The hospital is accepting online contributions which are received by the Crudem Foundation which has a US location so that donations are tax-deductible for US taxpayers. You can learn more about the Hospital's mission and work on their volunteer blog. Do click around a bit on their website where there is a fair amount of information.

The second choice to help the effort in Haiti is though the Lubavitch Chabad located in the Dominican Republic. At their blog, you can learn more about their mission in response to the Haiti earthquake. You can read about how a group led by their rabbi have arrived safely in Haiti after taking off from the Dominican Republic in a jeep in order to help. Donations are made to the Chabad in Puerto Rico, so that contributions are also deductible for US taxpayers.

If you have favorite charities, do consider supporting them. The Haiti work is huge, and most charities are involved.


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