Friday, January 15, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti - What can you do?

As I see the images coming out of Haiti after the devastating 7.0 earthquake of January 12, I have that feeling again. It's the same feeling I had while watching the devastation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the ruins of the twin towers after 9/11. I want to do something to help. What I can afford to donate seems so little, and a little impersonal. I wish I was there, digging survivors out of the rubble. I could pass out food and water. I know some basic first aid, and I'm not sqeamish about blood.

But the truth is, I'd probably just be in the way of the doctors and aid workers and experienced search and rescue teams. And the money I would spend just to get there would be put to better use as a donation to an organization already providing relief. There are three groups I am positive would put donations to good use.

There's the Red Cross. They have local chapters everywhere. Call to find out how you can donate blood or money, or both.

There's a group called Doctors Without Borders. They get medical teams who can provide quality care to the places they are needed the most.

There is also my personal choice for donations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church has already sent emergency supplies, personal hygiene kits, and newborn supplies from the neighboring Dominican Republic. This weekend, two planes carrying 80,000 pounds each of food and emergency resources such as tents, tarps, water filtration bottles and medical supplies will take off from Denver and Miami. A planeload of volunteering doctors will leave soon from Utah. A meetinghouse in Port-Au-Prince, which was mostly undamaged, will be converted to a temporary medical center.

I have participated in church activities where we put together the hygiene kits I mentioned above. They each contain two combs, four toothbrushes, one tube of toothpaste, two bars of soap and two hand towels in a heavy duty one-gallon sealable bag. These are collected and stored until they are needed, like now.

But perhaps the most important thing I could do, from my safe, comfortable home in the Rocky Mountains, is to pray for the people of Haiti.

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