I haven’t said a whole lot about the earthquake in Haiti, and haven’t posted at all about it up to this point because I didn’t feel like I should advocate action until I’d taken some. Honestly, it feels like there is little I can do. I can write a check (and have), but I can’t be there doing something useful. Lots of money has been sent to Haiti, and more will continue to be sent, but it’s only a first step.
What do you really know about Haiti? Despite the fact that my church sends teams to work there several times each year and I do actually know exactly 1 Haitian… I have to confess mostly ignorance beyond the basic fact that it’s the “poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere”. But I’m learning. Check out the World Factbook for a quick snapshot of the nation. Dig around and learn of some of the history of the island nation (natives driven out by Spain, replaced by Africans as slave labor, the nation ceded to France, revolt, independence, political unrest…). Learn. Give. Pray.
Northwest Haitian Christian Mission is the organization with which our church works closely. They are located a pretty good distance from the quake’s epicenter (the nation is not quite as large as the state of Maryland though, so relatively speaking it’s not far away). Port-au-Prince is the hub of the nation, so they will be deeply affected in the coming months as ‘normal’ supplies will be scarce and difficult to transport. No one in the nation will be untouched by the earthquake. Despite the difficulty to come for them, they are sending their own people and supplies into the wreckage to help in every way possible. This is the church at it’s best in the worst imaginable circumstances. They are set up to take donations which will be immediately put to use on the ground in Haiti through this link. That link is specifically for this Earthquake Relief effort, not their regular operating expenses (though you can find links to that giving as well). Mike Grant is one of the directors at NWHCM who is giving some of their perspective on his blog (when local electricity allows). Jody Castillo is also with the mission and shares her perspective as she tries to keep in contact with her husband, Jose who is in PAP doing whatever he can to help.
In addition to the link to NWHCM’s giving page, Samaritan’s Purse is another organization that is already in Haiti at work (focusing right now on clean water and temporary housing) through which you can donate, as is Compassion. CNN has compiled a list of a number of other organizations as well if you’re looking for something specific. When I give, I want it to be as direct as possible, so the 3 I’ve listed are agencies that have proven themselves, and were already at work in Haiti before the quake – they already have relationships established that will be necessary to get the assistance where it needs to go quickly.
I don’t want to just sit in my comfort and cry about this devastation… Learn. Pray. Give.