Thursday, January 14, 2010


With the tragedy in Haiti, many Americans are thinking of ways to donate to the victims.  I have been thinking about this because guild is tonight, and I will be surprised if someone doesn't suggest donations of some sort.  I am for the first time going to suggest a cooling off period.  We have a tendency to jump in and throw money at tragedies without thinking about the details.  Who are we giving the money to, who are we sending quilts to, are the people that we want to get helped getting what we are sending?  I can think of many times that we have rushed into donations for something only to find out that there has been corruption of some sort attached to the charity, and many times we never really know if the people we send the quilt to ever get them, or need them.  (Katrina).  When we send a big donation of quilts for something, I'm sure there are hundreds of other guilds across the country doing the same thing.  I'm cynical, it really makes me wonder. 
First of all, I'm all for making quilts for charity.  We make quilts for Wounded Warriors, Home of the Brave, and baby quilts for the health department.  We used to decorate a tree at Christmas time for a local women's and children's shelter.  When they stopped doing that auction, we started collecting donations from our generous members.
 We are a quilt guild, formed to promote quilting to the public, and to educate our members. We do works of charity that benefit our local needs.  I personally think that it should stop there.
Whenever there is a tragedy, there are people that line up to scam good hearted people. I think you should tred carefully before you start handing over the cash.

There are places to find charities that use most of the money donated for helping the people.  You get into problems in some of these third world dictatorships when you just send money or goods and it is stolen by the government.  The people never get the help.

I checked into some charities, and I got some guidance from the news.

PARTNERS IN HEALTH   From what I understand, this is one of the best.  This organization has been on the ground for many years helping Haitians get decent medical care.
SAVE THE CHILDREN  92% of your donation goes to programs and services to help children
DIRECT RELIEF they also provide medical relief and care. Less than one half of 1% of the money donated goes towards administrative services.
WATER MISSIONS  a Christian based organization that helps and teaches people in poor countries how to get and sustain clean water.

I think these are four of the best.  All of them were helping the people of Haiti long before the earthquake. They know the people, they understand what they are dealing with as far as the government goes, and they understand how to get around the infrastructure that is in place in Haiti. 

Today I saw a video that showed a despondent mother that had lost 4 of  her children the first night. Her last surviving child died because of the lack of medical care.   She was being comforted by other members of her family, but there is no other help for her.

Such a tragedy is beyond my imagination.  I hope help comes quickly for these people.


kwiltmakr said...

The Red Cross too is a good place to give for help.

dee said...

I mean no disrespect to anyone here but I will never donate to the Red Cross again. I spend my days working for a charity and I happen to know that RC pays a fortune in administrative costs to it's executives. Less than half, and often a third of the money donated goes to the relief efforts. A good one is Doctors without Borders. Partners in Health and Direct relief are great.
Of the millions donated to Katrina it was shameful the waste that occurred from monies donated to Red Cross. They wasted hundreds of thousands and still took their cut.
What is needed right now is a way to get anything to the people and keep the aid workers safe. In a day or so there will be wholesale looting& violence and people trying to help who are in great danger. The airports are unable to handle any more planes and maybe the "media" could get out of the way and offer help instead of sticking cameras into the faces of these poor people while they suffer.
Sorry for the novel but this kind of thing desperately needs organization. Lets make sure that what we give actually gets where it needs to.

Jen R. ( said...

I think it is very important to challenge where we give our money and challenge "why" we should give our money. I don't mean that we shouldn't help others (I donate almost all of my spare cash to various places instead of buying clothes or jewelry), but instead we should challenge ourselves to think about if it is truly helpful to the people and if the charity is truly worthwhile. Why are we donating? Because of sensationalism or because we know it is really going to help?

Maybe sometimes America fails to realize that they are setting people up for failure because they are giving all the wrong things and not challenging the whys.

Teri said...

Funny you should say that.. I put down the Red Cross and the United way when mentioning the corrupt charities after 9/11. But I decided to delete that part out. I would never give to either of these organizations for exactly the reasons you said.
I was surprised that no one mentioned donating at guild last night. I didn't get to give my speech against the idea. :(
I don't send money to national charities usually. I rather put in time and hands on to local charities so I can see exactly what is going on, and I can see the people being helped.
As a negative side note.. Obama was really quick and direct commenting on this tragedy. And he is certainly staying on top of the relief plans. Maybe he should go be the President of Haiti..