Haiti’s Earthquake

This week’s rainstorm here in southern California has blown water into my house, shifted boats in nearby Newport Beach off their moorings and flooded many a street across Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  But these things are nothing compared to the damage done in Haiti by the two powerful earthquakes over the past week.

I wanted to discuss a bit in this week’s Enjoying the Surface on how to respond to the devastation you’ve most likely seen on the news in Haiti.  Clearly, we must do something.  The urge to help out your fellow man (or woman) comes naturally.  Sadly, there are many scammers wanting to make a buck on your compassion.

Charity Navigator, a website which helps you figure the ins and outs of today’s non-profits, has posted an online list of those charities responding to the quakes in Haiti that they would recommend as you decide to give.  Some of the main points from the article are below.

  1. Avoid newly-formed charities. Rather give to charities with a long history of working in-country (these would be Catholic Relief Services, World Relief, Samaritan’s Purse, and Save the Children, for example).
  2. Do not give to the Haitian government. Because of its known corruption, funding should only go to reputable organizations.
  3. Designate your investment. Be sure to tell the charity you choose that you want it to go their Haiti 2010 earthquake relief efforts.
  4. Do not send supplies.  That is, as an individual.  What most non-profits need post-disaster is cash as many supplies can be purchased, oftentimes cheaper, on the ground.  A collection or drive of supplies could potentially be done with a large non-profit but shipping, transit and customs are still other factors.

This week, let’s be in prayer for those in Haiti.  The Psalmist captures their current situation well:

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.

I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.   (Psalm 77:1-3)

May we lift those in Haiti up in prayer so that they, like the Psalmist, may one day say:

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?

You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples (Psalm 77:13-14).

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