One year ago today, a devastating earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The world rallied around this small, impoverished country to help it get back on its feet. While I am not an expert in these things, it seems to me that there has never been a worldwide response such as what we saw to a tragedy. I remember celebrities hosting shows, doing concerts and all kinds of things to raise money for Haiti. I remember TV networks (all of them) throwing their schedules out and airing the shows hosted by celebrities to raise money. I believe this was the beginning (or at least the first that I saw of it) of the “Text the word _____ to _____ and donate $10 to the _____ fund”.
So one year later, millions if not billions of dollars later progress has been made, but Haiti is still in much need. “What can we do to help Haiti?”
I am so glad that you have asked. I have some ideas beginning with the easiest ranging to the more complicated:
1) Remember. Refuse to forget the tragedy. One of the more difficult parts of this to process is the fact that this was completely unavoidable. No one can control earthquakes or natural disasters. Living in the Pacific Northwest and having spent a year in Japan I’ve been through my share of earthquakes (9 in one year in Japan alone). It is scary, but I take comfort in the fact that we are prepared for it: we do drills, so we know the best places to be; our buildings, highways and byways are “earthquake proof,” and we have an infrastructure in place to handle natural disasters. Places like Haiti are not so prepared. As you remember what has happened in Haiti, get yourself ready for disaster by gathering supplies for a disaster kit.
2) Pray. You can pray for healing of a nation, and God to be made known among the people of Haiti. Pray also that God will continue to burden people with the desire to help Haiti. Pray for comfort of those who lost loved ones, and those whose loved ones still have not been found.
3) Give. There are many relief organizations still on the ground in Haiti that still needs your help. Be sure to fully check out each organization that you consider giving to, to make sure that they money is used in a way that is suitable to you. I am a huge fan of World Vision, American Red Cross, and Convoy of Hope. Convoy of Hope has been on the ground in Haiti for a long time. In fact, they were one of the first organizations to respond. The day before the earthquake hit, their storehouse was restocked with supplies and food that was immediately ready for distribution to the people in need.
4) Volunteer. Many relief organizations can use volunteers with any skill set imaginable both here and overseas in the disaster zone. By volunteering here, you free up their people to be able to be in the disaster zone, and help the organization save a bit of money that goes to the greater need and not overhead costs.
5) Go. Take a trip to Haiti. Get in contact with a relief agency there and find out how you can help. Whatever skills you have are needed as Haiti rebounds and rebuilds.
Most importantly, do something even if all you can do is remember and pray…