I've begun to understand a bit more about earthquakes in the last few years. We moved to earthquake country and by and large they don't ruffle too many people here. Understand that folks are still effected and traumatized. People mobilize to help and give whereever they can but its not something that is really surprising. People don't say "How could that happen? We've never had an earthquake before." Rather, on the contrary, people tend to compare notes from past earthquakes. I suspect its a little like Gulf Coast and Florida residents when it comes to hurricanes.
I think that is what gets me about an 7.0 Earthquake in Haiti. They haven't had an earthquake of any real magnitude in over 200 years. That's crazy. Jonathan and I were talking about it and really earthquakes are something. You can't prevent them. Its difficult to guard against there effects (even earthquake proof buildings give at some point and condition). You can't predict them. It really is a little like a bus falling out of the sky.
You'll notice at the top of the page in the sidebar is a widget for Relief Aid to Haiti. Let me assure you, if I give you a link its something I've already done. I take giving very seriously. I want you to also. If you have ability to give of your time, of your things, of your money. Please do so. Giving should be part of everyday life and not reserved for diasters and crisis. If you have a organization you already give to, Congratulations! You're already experiencing joy. If you do not, please let me suggest Compassion International. Compassion has been present in Haiti since 1968. Partnering with churches to provide for the basic needs of food, health care and education for children and their families. They have a million children in their sponsoring system worldwide and have consistently recieved top marks for accountablity with finances. That's important folks. Compassion is ready on the ground to aid the people of Haiti.
If you are giving through another organization, I encourage you to check their financial information. Really if you ever give money, check the financial information. 501(c)(3) is a tax designation for charitable/ non for profit organizations. If you are giving to a 501(c)(3), you should know that you can deduct the gift on your yearly tax returns- that maybe something you are interested in. But beyond the tax status, do a little homework. Know where the money is going and how much is going. Certainly a percentage may go toward a central office or other types of overhead, but if you are giving to the people of Haiti, you should know how much of that money is getting to the people of Haiti. Ask the who, what, when, where, why, how and how much. Get some answers to that before you write a check. That's not stingy, that's wise.
Some organizations I would recommend and I have given to:
World Vision- In Haiti for 30 years working in child sponsorship.
International Disaster Emergency Services - providing food and financial support to work worldwide. If you are interested in being a physical help, go to the IDES website. They have a food packing site for relief work. They don't put too many limits on the size of groups to come and pack food. Anyone thinking roadtrip to Indiana?