Living without television in the world's most isolated capital city, news often reaches me late, if at all. I only learned about the earthquake in Haiti this morning. Having been indirect victims of a deadly natural disaster gives events like these a more personal (and painful) impact on our little family, and, like so many, I needed to know what I could do.
The White House is urging people to donate to the International Red Cross (ICRC) or Doctors Without Borders. Within the United States, you can text "HAITI" to the number 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. The donation will be added to your cell phone bill. Outside the US, you should access the ICRC website. As a warning of sorts if you are a sensitive soul, be prepared that when you click to donate to Haiti, it will offer you a choice of donations to the following countries: Afganistan, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar, North Caucasus of the Russian Federation, Other operations (up to ICRC), Philippines, Water programs, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. That list is a straightforward reminder that the world is a place full of great need...and how blessed we are that our homes are so safe and free.
If you are interested in avoiding the donations glut that often floods large organizations in the wake of a disaster, you may be interested in donating to some of the smaller non-profits that are already in place and have begun relief efforts. There is a good post about them here. One such organization is Yele, which also offers a text message donation option from within the US; simply text "YELE" to 501501 to donate $5.