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Monday, February 1, 2010

Unite for Haiti

Today, February 1st, 2010, hundreds of bloggers are coming together to write about how we can continue to help Haiti’s relief efforts.

Now, I’ve never united with other bloggers before but if you know me, you know that I never pass up a chance to united with others in a common heart-felt moment.  In fact, the only united moments I avoid are anger mobs.  Otherwise, if you’re marching, I’m marching.  Or watching and crying over how MOVING it is to have people come together. 

Financial donations are the most needed for the Haitian recovery efforts.  As a family, we donate 10% of all unexpected money to charity (as a way of saying “thank you” to the universe).  Perhaps you have received some unexpected cash?  A bonus?  A tax refund?  A ten-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk?  What about collecting all the loose change around your house?  Anything helps!

You can also talk to your children, who receive allowance, about donating a portion to Haiti this week.  (Unsure of how to discuss these situations?  I found this article from CBS News to be helpful.)

Here is a list of charities doing great work in Haiti and links to learn more:
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  • Unicef is giving 100% of your donation to Haiti. They also have a very moving blog from the volunteers on the ground.
  • Partners in Health has been working in Haiti for over 20 years.  Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer recently testified at the “Haiti: From Rescue to Reconstruction” hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  They also have a blog that focuses on their work in Haiti.
  • American Red Cross makes it the easiest to donate by setting up a text donation system.  Text “HAITI” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  They also have an overview of their work in Haiti.
And two charities that are also doing good work in Haiti (and around the world) but haven’t received as much national news coverage:
I have only included charities that we have personally donated to and who either have a high ranking on most charity rating sites (i.e., send most of your money to the efforts not their fundraising activities) or who have pledged to give a high percentage to Haiti.
If you are struggling because you believe that Haiti shouldn’t be getting so much help as it is when people in the United States are suffering, I throw down the gauntlet.  Decide how much you can afford to give and split it 50/50 or even 90/10 between the US and Haiti.  At least two of the above charities have strong programs in the United States to help our poor and suffering.  But don’t use it as an excuse to not give at all.  Please.

This post is written by Alex Iwashyna, a happily married (seriously!) mom with a BA in Philosophy and a Medical Degree and the drive to become neither.  She is hopeful this writing thing will pan out.  Follow her rants on and on but be prepared for baby poop and liberal bias.

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