It never ceases to amaze me how many non-profits and charities crop up in the wake of a natural disaster/crisis. And while I think it's great all these people are willing (and wanting) to help the people of Haiti out, it's hard to navigate just where your money is going and if it's actually getting to the right hands. Instead of taking the day off on MLK, I decided to do some research on charities that are doing incredible things in Haiti: Doctors without Boarders (www.doctorswithoutboarders.org): YES my mother (Dr. Prabhakar) is involved with this charity but in a completely non-biased way, DWB/MSF are doing incredible things in Haiti. With some pretty slim means (makeshift hospitals are being set up in hotel lobbies, 500 people in 80 bed facilities and a barely functioning university hospital not to mention a total and complete lack of basic supplies like alcohol, surgical instruments and gauze) DWB/MSF doctors are working around the clock to make sure disease doesn't spread and people are getting the care they need. In addition, they are in the process of delivering 12 tons of medical equipment including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines but the country definitely needs more. Right now the web site is only taking donations via credit card and via phone but if I hear of other ways I will update the post.
Mercy Corps: My sister and another friend of mine suggested I look into this organization regarding donations and I was super impressed. With 3700 active volunteers in 39 different countries this NGO aggregates the talent of people from all types of professions including: medical, financial, management, technology, water sanitation as well as sports. Right now they have a team of emergency response experts working to help survivors with immediate food, water, shelter and hygiene needs and of course this costs $$$. You can donate online using PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon Payments.
American Red Cross: You know how you've been hearing "text 90999" to help Haiti relief efforts? The proceeds are supposed to be going to the American Red Cross. But if are you are like me then you are skeptical of anything being charged to your phone bill even if it's for a good cause. As of today, Jan 20th, the ARC has delivered clean drinking water to 200,000 to 400,000 people each day via truck- and that's just the tip of the iceberg. But donating through text? So not my style. They are still handing out tons of supplies, water, medical aid and with the most recent earth quake shock, the ARC is going to need more monetary assistance. So for those of you who want to donate to The American Red Cross but don't to go through your wireless carrier, you can go to www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
PIH (Partners in Health) PIH.org: I have several dear friends whose families have been effected by this terrible quake and they are all saying how great PIH (Partners in Health) is. Similar to Mercy Corps, this organization is making major strides in making sure adequate health care is administered in a timely way for people in need by taping into their data base of several thousand health care volunteers. In addition, PIH has been in Haiti for 20 years helping out people in need. They are taking medical donations (in large quantities) as well as monetary donations to help people who desperately need healthcare. What I like best about this organization is that they are making it SO easy to donate money- you can give via wire transfer, gifts of stock (if you roll like that), on your credit card or just by calling.
PSI.org: Like most of the organizations I am talking about in this post, PSI. org centers around healthcare- specifically educating and improving the health of vulneable poor people, but what I love most about them is that now they are making HUGE efforts to create drinkable water in a place that desperately needs it. Partnering with Proctor & Gamble, PSI is using PuR Purifier of Water to make dirty, disease, micro-organism infested water into water peeps can bath in, cook with and most importantly drink. To donate you can go directly to their web site www.psi.org.