Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Haiti

Numerous organizations are mobilizing to lend a hand in the devastating aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. The best way to help the three million people in Haiti affected by the destructive earthquake is through monetary donations.

Cash donations are the most efficient and effective way to get aid to people in time of disaster. Cash donations allow organizations to purchase exactly what is needed. Most are no seeking material items like clothes or food, or volunteers at this time. These agencies have set up phone lines, online donation pages and texting options for individuals to contribute to their relief efforts.

Authorities caution people to beware of online scammers. The FBI urges people who are looking for ways to help with earthquake relief to be wary of solicitations from scam artists. A few tips of advice from the FBI:
  • Do not give to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because they may contain viruses.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
Many websites are posting extensive lists for relief agencies. Before making a monetary donation, you may want to do some research on the charity and become familiar with what they do and how your donations will be utilized. There are a couple recommended sites where you can get information on charities.

Charity Navigator: America's largest charity evaluator. The site also lists several relief agencies who are accepting donations.

InterAction:
A coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It has a page of member organizations collecting for the Haiti disaster and guidelines for giving.

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD): National VOAD is a nonprofit membership organization which includes national nonprofit organizations who mission includes programs either in disaster preparedness, response and/or recovery.

TEXTING OPTIONS:

Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 on behalf of the YĆ©le Foundation, the leading contributor to rebuilding Haiti founded by Wyclef Jean.

• Text "Haiti" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of The Clinton Foundation (former President Clinton is Special Envoy to Haiti)

• Text "Haiti" to 85944 to donate $5 on behalf of the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International.

• Text "Haiti" to 25383 to donate $5 on behalf of the Internal Rescue Committee.

• Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the Red Cross in the U.S

LOCALLY:

Publix: Publix customers can donate at a register.

Holy Family Catholic Church-St. Petersburg

Haitian Association Foundation of Tampa: 813-416-2558 or 813-416-3946