Maine newspapers over the past couple of days have had stories on Mainers in Haiti, usually there before the earthquake either as part of a charitable mission, as students, or to visit family. Those stories also had links to charitable agencies and tips on how to avoid being scammed.
The best way for Mainers to help now after the earthquake is to give cash to established charities, because scams are already out there. Established charities, especially those with a presence in Haiti before the earthquake, is where donations should go.
And it doesn’t have to be much – pass on that pack of cigarettes and send the $5 you would have spent on that; skip a movie rental one night and send that money; ask your children to empty their piggybanks for the children of Haiti. That is all you would need to do.
A first thought might be, “Well, they need food, don’t they, and water and other basics. Let’s have a food drive!”
The thing is that established charities can buy more food and other necessities that we can individually.
And – this next thing may be even more important than the established charities’ buying power – those established charities often buy locally, thus stimulating the economy there, which is something that needs to be done.
If you cannot give money, try donating time to a local charity or giving blood. Those actions might not help the people of Haiti, but someone will be helped.
Here’s a link to the Idealist.org blog item on how to donate or volunteer.
And here’s a link to a blog supposedly written by an aid worker in Haiti. It was passed along to me by a friend, but I cannot vouch for its authenticity. Therefore, I would NOT recommend making a donation to the blog unless you can verify it’s for real. But the perspective is interesting.