Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to Help Part II

After reading some comments today on some other groups, I feel compelled to make another statement here.  Many are talking about the President's request to give money not stuff.  That is great, but right now there are people out there who don't have two dimes to rub together, but they are clearing out their homes that are being forclosed on, they can surely donate "Stuff" that has accumulated. 

Even the many of the "poor" in America do not realize how good they have it.  Frankly, with our situation, medical bills, and the fact that I can't work so I can take care of Lil Man, we are considered at or below the poverty line.  The fact is, we have medical, clean water, clothes on our backs and our families.  That is more than can be said for many in Haiti right now.....honestly, it is more than could be said about many in Haiti BEFORE the earthquake.  It was just that nobody paid any attention.

Don't get me wrong, America has issues they need to deal with, but nothing like what is going on down there.  A full 80% of the population are below the poverty level - way below.  These are people who are immensly thankful for the 12X12 shack put together by scrap  in the middle of a garbage dump! 

There are an estimated 40,000 homeless children in Haiti - not homeless with the rest of their families - abandoned, orphaned, turned out and on their own to survive.  As a bonus, Haiti is one of the largest centers for child trafficers, child slave traders, and child sex trafficing rings.  With so many more children who are going to be orphaned, fighting these sick people off will/should be a priority.

As somebody who used to work for some of these non-profits, the way this works is that when you donate money, they buy what is needed and get it where it needs to be.  When there is such an overwhelming response, as has happened with Haiti, there will probably be more money than is needed for the initial "crisis" level supplies.  The overage will go back in the general pot.  Also, long story-short, the more the non-profits are able to send, the less the Government has to co-ordinate.     

At some point, the need for aluminum space blankets and bottled water will have been met and the bigger organizations will , for the most part, pull out to deal with other crisis other places.(I am thinking Red Cross as an example).  Once things start coming back on line - i.e. water filtation points, tent cities, etc., the people of Haiti will be left to clean up and rebuild as best they can ....mostly on their own.  For a people, who collectively had almost nothing before the quake, rebuilding with less than nothing is going to be next to impossible without outside help.  This doesn't even take into account the people who are so traumatized that they can't function - PTSD.

So, that leaves the need for "stuff".  How many people do you think would be grateful for that old set of pots & pans, dishes, those skinny jeans that you are probably never going to get in to, your old camping equipment, books, etc.   The very best places to give those things to are church groups with established missions in Haiti.  I know the Catholic churchs, the Baptist church, and many others have missions that they continually send people to.  THESE are the places that are going to get those things where they need to be.  There is no way, anybody can give enough money to buy the things people need to start over.

As for medical supplies, Doctors without Borders, World Vision, and other groups WILL need those items and get them where they need to be.  They do have established, and permanent bases in Haiti.

While this is a HUGE tragedy for the people of Haiti and those who have family and friends there, this could be a giant learning opportunity for your family.  Without going in to graphic detail & scaring your kids, this disaster could be used as an opportunity for lessons in charity, compassion, empathy, geography, history, geology, and the biggest IMHO needs vs. wants.  

Helping the people of Haiti to get back on their feet again is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.  Anything you can do to help ease the suffering, I can guarantee you, is GREATLY appreciated by the people of Haiti and their families.  Please help in any way you feel compelled, be it monitarily or donation in kind.  Thanks!

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Blogger Beth said...

Oh my. I broke my own rule and read from the top post on down.
Thank you for all the information about donating to Haiti. I have been praying for the people in Haiti, and now will add more specific prayers for your friend and family.

We have chosen to donate to the Haitian L'Arche communities which have group homes and schools for individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Thanks for your good posts about Haiti.

January 21, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

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