Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti - Creative Ways to Help

Haiti is on everyone's minds tonight, and many of us are praying for those who are injured and/or lost loved ones in the disaster.  As those of us in California who have experience with catastrophic earthquakes know, it's just as important to give material aid ~ search & rescue, clean water, food, shelter, clothing.  Unless you are a doctor or emergency worker who is going over there to personally offer your help in digging out those victims buried beneath the rubble, you'll be giving donations of money.  So many charity organizations are asking for donations that it's not hard to find a place to send your money ~ a little or a lot, depending on your circumstances.  Just be sure the charity you give to is legitimate and is not a scam, which is not new or unusual when disasters strike.  Greed seems to thrive on the pain and suffering of others.

One way to give without actually digging in pockets or searching between the sofa cushions is to use as your web search engine.  The first time you go to the site, you can plug in the name of a charity (I chose The Red Cross), and then, every time you search the Web with GoodSearch, money is given to the charity of your choice.  If you purchase something from a vendor you found using GoodSearch, even more money is given to the charity.  I've been using GoodSearch for about a year now, and it does a fine job of finding things on the internet, providing results that look much like Google's.

In this age of social networking, a new way of helping has come to the fore.  Names and photos of the missing are being posted on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites, and I've seen a few cases where missing loved ones have been found.  As a faithful Twitter user, I can tell you that I learned about the crushing breadth of the crisis long before mainstream media got hold of the story.  People on the ground in Port-au-Prince were tweeting what they were seeing within hours of when the 7.0 temblor happened, and now tweeters are making suggestions for what is needed most, posting pictures from the streets, and telling their stories ~ 140 characters at a time.

If anyone else has any suggestions of creative ways to help, I'd love to hear about them.  Please leave a comment and I'll put them in another post or link to your blog.