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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Haiti – How To Help

There has been an unprecedented response to the Haitian Earthquake. Haiti had a dysfunctional government before the disaster and they are none-the-better or non existent now. Americans are compassionate and want to make life better for those less fortunate. I only spent 9 days in the country and am not an expert on what is or is not happening. I can only go by what I read and my own observations. No doubt the very quick response saved many more lives. My snap shot was 3 months after the initial damage. So what can you and I do to help:

Prayers — the Haitians are hopeful people. The vast majority are Christian and prays for better times. Your prayers for relief are the easiest way to offer assistance. Please remember this poverty struck nation.

Mission work — I visited the country. If you get asked and can physically help, please jump at the opportunity. Being there will enrich your life. It is one thing to see it on the news, it is quite another to see, smell and feel the needs. Inquire in your community about a group that is making a mission. If possible, go along.

Making product — Marty H. responded to a recent blog. He had been to Haiti many times. He can no longer make the trip but spends time making blankets and bags for the children. What is so beautiful about this is that every gift (I brought soccer balls) brightens the lives of a child or an adult. Even the smallest gift is HUGE. Chris and I were handing out lollipops to a handful of school children, before we knew it we had hundreds of children charging at us. It was sad and it was heartening. Please don’t underestimate the value of any gift – handmade or other.

Donations $$ – The value of cash donations can not be understated. Work has to occur at two levels. The “government” has to build an infrastructure that provides predictable electricity, power and roads. Without it poverty will go hand in hand with Haiti. They will never prosper. I see this to be the work of our and other governments. I read the UN was raising $550 million for Haitian needs. My observation was that they had a major compound in place and hundreds of vehicles driving around the city with armed soldiers. This had to be critical soon after the disaster. I just don’t know and I certainly did not see what the UN is doing today. I hope someone will straighten me out…. Please do.

With the infrastructure being the responsibility for big dollars and governments, the rest of the donations have to get to the Haitians and steer clear of their government officials. I am not in a position to endorse any or all great charities. But, I do refer to Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org when I consider any new organization.  I want my money to go where it is best used. C.N. rates non-profit organizations. It is possible for an organization to be so small or to be made up of volunteers and small administration that doesn’t score as well as others. So, this is only one way to check out a non-profit. The greatest needs are for medicine, food and education. I personally am a fan of Doctors Without Borders www.doctorswithoutborders.org. My group connects with Partners With Haiti www.partnerswithhaiti.org. Then, there are dozens or hundreds of small orphanages that directly touch the lives of children. In an earlier blog I mentioned www.loveandgraceboyshome.com. I like the idea of finding a pastor who spends his time helping the neediest. Bottom line— go online and find an organization that provides the help you deem most needy.

I am still processing what I can do. I have not pulled together my plans but I know I will return for another mission. I would also like to raise enough money to build a school. And, I would like to do it with thousands of $10, $20, $50 donations. I believe I have a way to accomplish this but need to work it though.

Remember to keep Haitians in your prayers. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions at any time. It should also be said that there is tremendous needs everywhere in the United States and around the world. What we see in Haiti is duplicated in countries like India and elsewhere. Americans and Canadians are tremendously compassionate and have demonstrated it every time there is a worldwide emergency. Thank you! Here are a few photos that capture life in Haiti.

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