Saturday, September 25, 2004

Haiti relief

Today is my father's 76th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad...wherever you are. (He and my stepmother left Monday for northern Washington where they planned to hook up with their traveling buddies and set out on a road trip. I imagine they're somewhere in Canada. Guess I'll find out when I call him later.)

We feel horrible for the poor residents of Florida who are bracing today for their fourth hurricane strike this season. Jeanne is a category 2 storm--let's hope she doesn't strengthen any more that.

But what's first and foremost on my mind this morning is the situation in Haiti. As devastating (and nerve-wracking) as the hurricane season has been for stateside residents, their devastation can't begin to compare to what's happened in Haiti, which was already reeling from poverty of an almost unimaginable magnitude, severe political unrest and terrible flooding just a few months ago.

I've been doing some research to see how cash donations can be made to organizations who are dealing directly with the situation. If you're wondering if cash donations are more effective than the donation or goods and supplies, please read these guidelines.

If you'd like to help, here are some organizations providing relief in Haiti:

General Board of Global Ministries - United Methodist Church
Send donations to: Hurricanes 2004-Haiti, UMCOR Advance #982410, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Checks should be made payable to UMCOR. Or donate at or by calling 1-800-554-8583.
NOTE: The gbgm website also has info on providing "flood buckets" to hurricane victims in Florida.

Catholic Relief Services
Send donations to: Dominican Republic-Haiti Flooding, Catholic Relief Services, P. O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090. Or donate at the website or by calling 1-800-736-3467.

American Jewish World Service
Send donations to: Haiti/DR Flood Relief, 45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018. Or donate at the website or by calling 1-800-889-7146.

Oxfam Canada
Send donations to: Oxfam Canada, 200-215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C7. Or donate at the website or by calling 1-800-466-9326.


Send donations to: Children First Internet Donation, UNICEF, 3 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017.
NOTE: I have emailed UNICEF's Haiti office ( to inquire whether they can accept donations directly. I'll let you know what I learn. The address is: UNICEF-Haiti, P. O. Box 1363, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Whether or not you choose to make a donation, I would simply ask this. Just for a moment today, as you plunk down a five for your latte...or do your grocery shopping...or spend your evening out at dinner or a movie....please remember the 5,000 children living in shelters in Haiti who simply want a drink of clean water. And remember how truly blessed and lucky we are to have so much.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of this awful mess both purely geographical and that of lives wrecked by death, disease and injury I would wish that Haiti does not just become the 'good cause' of the week for many but that this terrible storm will wash some of the complacency away from those of us who live in places where even in the direst circumstances we would have the hope of help within hours and sustenance of clean water and shelter before a day has passed would be accepted as possible.
Haiti is not just poor it is beggarly poor and even though money will go some way to allieviate the immediate aftermath of the events that have decimated lives and homes it is in the mid and long term that Haiti needs to be in the spotlight of hearts and minds with more resources than any Haitian could dream of.
The political corruption of Haiti is well documented but the lives of the small are not except for the passing phrase of abject poverty being bandied about.
I can only say that in my own experience change can occur in the most awful circumstances but rarely does the flow come from top to bottom. It is when the people at the very bottom of the bottom are offered and take up education and training that small networks of support and preparedness begin to be built. An oasis in a vast desert can appear from afar to be insignificant but to the throat parched by drought it is nothing less than a miricle. Of course enabling and encouraging thought, questioning and action can be a dangerous activity not only for 'the powers that be' both internal and external to a place but can be 'dangerous' to those who pass on the skills and training for in doing this job well they will be removed frrom their place of importance by those who gain the skills but who have real intimate knowledge of the landscape and life of the country.
My wish is that the immediate crisis is helped by donation of aid without strings but that the ripples of this storm propel something greater than hurricane scale winds that Haiti does not become old news, or even worse 'the same old news' and that the devestation and destruction these people have endured recently will be the beginning of new ways of being helped not the continuation of old ways of 'Lady bountiful'doleing out gifts to the 'deserving poor' and then sweeping on to grant her largesse elsewhere as the mood takes her.
With adequate housing, roads, services Haitians could have ridden the storm and though bruised and battered in the main be now bringing life back to a normalcy that we take for granted so easily even in hurricane ravaged Florida.The Earth is rich in bounty unfortunately too many have put severe price on this bounty and plunder her resources without thought for people like those found living on Haiti.
My prayer is that yes Haiti is given much help and support in the coming days and years but also that we all as people of one Earth begin to see the storms we are creating for our neighbours when we are more inclined to fill our storehouses with bounty and then charge those without the means to buy, their very lives for a 'bowl of rice'.
I know Save the Children in UK are involved in Haiti so am sure they would recieve donations of money and I think the post office has means to make donations over the counter too.
Sorry Marilyn to ramble on it is just something close to my heart I suppose. Daisy-Winifred

3:29 AM  

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