Haiti Relief...

Have you wondered about how you can help those in Haiti?  
Thought about traveling to help, sending supplies or money?  
I know I have!

For almost as long as I can remember, the church I grew up in and still attend has been involved in helping an orphanage in Haiti.  We often have groups go in January or February so long as travel is relatively safe.  Usually it's the same couple of guys that go, sometimes with others as well.  They have built relationships with some of those in Haiti and look forward to getting to work together every year.  They bring back pictures and stories and souveniers, and sometimes vanilla extract that is amazing.  We have several who sponsor children in the orphanage as well. 

Because of the relationship that my church has in Haiti, even though I've never been, I've always felt like I could in a small way identify with what life might be like there.  Even before this earthquake hit, it was one of the world's most impovershed countries.  They have little access to vaccines and proper healthcare... according to Wiki, half of the children are unvaccinated and only 40% have access to health care.  Ninety percent of children have intestinal parasites or waterborne diseases... 90%!!   Education is lacking as well.. 65.9% illiteracy rate one area.

Right now the damage is new and many will give, but it will take years to even regain what they had... which was already dismall at best in most places.  It's hard to imagine life like they lived before this tragic earthquake, but now... my heart breaks thinking especially of all the children who actually still had a parent, a home, food, lose them. 

How can we show our compassion?  How can we shower them with love, even if we can't go get our hands dirty and help?   I suggest we help with our $$. 

We are so blessed in America 
that we have no concept of how others live! 

We see television commercials asking us to donate for other countries, and we quickly change the channel... I know I've done it.  We complain about our old car, tv, credit card bills, or there always seems to be something on our "want list"... but you know what, we've got it good, too good!  We've been spoiled by our country's resources and ability to get resources, the we use them carelessly and create lots of unneeded waste in the process.

So my challenge is this... Ask yourself what you can afford to give to the efforts in Haiti and make a commitment to find a reputable company to donate to... and do it!  Then... decide if you're willing to commit to helping long term by sending something every month, six months, year, etc. and make a note on your calendar so you won't forget. 

If you're looking for a company to donate through I can offer one safe suggestion that I know about thorugh my congreation... Mennonite Central Commitee (MCC).   MCC has an ongoing relationship with efforts in Haiti (since 1958).  They had several working there when the quake struck (thankfully they are safe) and already has resources and more people on the way.  You can hear one of their firsthand accounts of the earthquake on the MCC site.

If you donate through one of the many "text your donation" links, be sure you know where your money is going and how much of it actually gets to Haiti... some take a pretty hefty cut for processing fees, etc. 

I have to say personally that Hubby and I are waiting to see if those from our congregation will be going to the trip that was already planned for  February.  If they are able to make the trip, we will concentrate our initial donation efforts there.  Our Pastor talked Sunday that they are still hopeful to get to go as the orphanage they have spent so much time on has been damaged and may be unstable.  The children are sleeping outside for fear of tremors that may collapse what is left of the building... so sad!  

If you're going to donate... make every penny count!

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