Friday, February 19, 2010

Concrete Ways to Help Haiti Now

Here's a list of specific things that you can do that will help those in need almost immediately. Anything I've put here (I will update as I find more opportunities and you can subscribe to receive them via email) has been thoroughly vetted and can be trusted as accurate.

Tents and Tarps - 1,000,000 people are without homes and living in temporary shelters made out of whatever they can find, usually sheets. One of the "tent" cities I was in had upwards of 20,000 people with no sewage. When the rains start any day now, these cities are going to turn into breeding grounds for disease and tens of thousands may die if they don't get shelter. In an attempt at full disclosure I found an article on why sending tents may be a bad idea, but having been there and seen the situation firsthand I don't agree with their thinking.

If you have a used good condition tent that is waterproof or plastic tarps in good condition you can send them to the address below. I spent a good deal of time on the phone with the folks at Mark Richey Woodworking and can vouch for them. They are collecting tents, palletizing them and shipping them to Florida. There, Partners in Health, the organization I was with in Haiti, is taking them into Haiti and giving them to people who need them. So far they have sent over 2000 pounds of tents.

If you want to buy a new tent or tarp you can ship them yourselves, or buy off the internet and have them shipped. If you don't know anything about tents, REI is pretty reliable for carrying good quality stuff. Mention that they are heading down to Haiti and you may get a discount. You may want to check Craigslist for used tents and send more. Also Amazon and Sierra Trading Post may offer free shipping.

As far as what to look for, size can go either way. Smaller tents are easier to find places for while bigger tents will keep families together and offer more room during long periods of rain. The main key is that they are waterproof and with tents, the higher priced models are usually the better ones as far as durability, so if you are on a budget, get a more expensive smaller tent that will last as opposed to the same priced larger tent. My non-camping two cents.

I'll update with specific tents in a few days.

Send tents and tarps to:
Mark Richey Woodworking
40 Parker Street
Newburyport, MA 01950-4056

ATTN: Dave Jazz

OR call if you have questions: 978.499.3800

If you have or have collected a lot of money and want to buy a large number of tents, let me know as I have some manufacturers who will offer wholesale prices.

Solar Cookers - Check out the explanation here but simply put, $40 sends a solar cooker, water purification tester and pot to someone who needs it. Its that simple. Click here to donate.

Crayons - I know this sounds nuts but the kids that I saw sitting in
hospitals had very little to do. I mentioned the idea of a crayon drive to the folks at St Damiens Childrens hospital and The Friends of The Orphans and they thought this was a great idea. Kids can do this which is great. Get your school or religious organization to start a crayon drive (used and/or new). Classes can challenge eachother to see who can collect more. Once you have a large box or two, shoot me an email (vegifyatmacdotcom) and I can give you an address in Florida to send them to and they'll send them to the orphanage and hospital with their supplies.

Volunteer - I'm looking into who is looking for what volunteers, but right now, if you are a doctor and can spare time to head to Haiti, Partners in Health has a sign up sheet here. They also need volunteers in their offices in Boston as well.

That's it for now. Thanks.

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