Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How To Help Haiti Without Spending A Dime... (of course a dime, a dollar or more would also help)

It is hard to watch the news. There are people dead and dying, people without homes and hope. Especially right now, the Haitians have caught our attention. If we were able, we would fly there ourselves and give a week or a month of our hearts and our help. But for most of us, the help will need to come in other ways. We will need to give here and let others take our love and donations there. As I’ve been thinking how I can contribute, I’ve come with up a good ten projects you and I can do alone or with our families to significantly aid those who are forlorn and rather lost at the moment on a faraway island.

ONE: Donate blood at your local blood drive within the next week. There is much of illness, disease, and trauma still. Your donation here will make more donations available there. Because our own son lived longer because of the immediate response for the call of blood donations when he was so very sick with leukemia, imagine the hope you will give to parents whose child needs blood to survive. Call today and give a most precious personal commodity, your own blood.

On a bigger scale, if you have time and talent, arrange for a timely local blood drive and instead of doing one good deed, make it possible for one hundred pints to be passed along. See www.redcross.org for more details.

TWO: Go through your shoes and this time donate the best, most sturdy ones. Drop them off at your local Deseret Industries boxed and labeled Humanitarian Aid - Haiti. If another charity is more to your liking, find out how to get them to Haiti via their donation drop-off locations. Remember, many of the Haitian families lost everything. Being able to walk safely will aid in their helping themselves clean up the debris, build anew, and move more freely over broken, sharp fragments on the roads.

Yes, you could also give tops, shorts, light coats, socks, and shorts, but give of your best. When you are really wanting, there is nothing like clothing that is in really, really good shape. It gives more than a coat, it gives a lift to your heart. It also relieves the worry about clothing for a long time.

THREE: There are just some things that you can only give during certain seasons of your life. You may think it a little thing, but milk is milk. Milk keeps a baby from crying and more importantly from dying, especially right now in Haiti. If you are a nursing mother and are willing to donate human milk, contact your regional Mothers' Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available on the HMBANA Web site at www.hmbana.org/index/locations.

FOUR: Pass along a hug. I’m a firm believer that when I can’t be there in person, I hug someone I love and ask them to pass the hug along. Eventually, someone in Haiti will get a hug that originated with me. If I do that every day for a month, thirty Haitians will receive of the love I passed along, in addition to the passers on the way.

FIVE: Children often know about the tragedies abroad. They hear things and they worry. You can alleviate that worry by helping them become involved in a small project to collect unneeded toys and donate them to a local homeless shelter. Just as many of the Haitians are homeless, taking their unneeded toys to a local homeless shelter will help them see that anyone and everyone can help make the world a better place. In its own way, the homeless in Haiti will receive of this help because of the generosity ripple effect, as I have come to call it. I donate here, someone hears about it and they donate there, and soon someone close enough to actually help in Haiti will also be prompted to help. There is no good deed too close to home to influence others to also be generous far away.

SIX: Do small household and yard chores for someone who is actually going to Haiti to help. Many of us know people who, because of their specialties, are going to make a trip to Haiti soon. They might be doing eye surgeries, delivering premature babies, or just going to keep the peace. Offering to clean the snow from their walks, pick up their mail, watch over their home if it will be empty, or occasionally entertaining the relatives that will be staying behind will surely make a Haitian’s life better.

SEVEN: Host a community garage sale. Find a larger, indoor location and ask for a Saturday’s use, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ask a local donut shop to give up yesterday’s leftovers as a brunch treat. Prepare and take around flyers to every family in your immediate neighborhood asking them to bring their donations, stickers for pricing, and one large, foldable table to the “Community Garage Sale” to be held at …. Have each family host their own table, sell their own items, and then donate the rest at the end of the sale. Collect proceeds and donate to your desired charity.

Bring large black bags, a smile, a good pair of shoes, and a place to keep the proceeds. Ask two families to provide trucks to pick up the leftovers at 3 p.m. sharp. Their donation is to get these items to the local charity’s drop-off location.

EIGHT: Skip the pizza this weekend. It may seem a small thing, but skipping something here makes it possible to give something there. If you ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner this weekend instead of going out, and made that small contribution through your Church or community, then it wouldn’t cost you anything but a change of plans. And it would help. Money is money and it will buy toothpaste and toothbrushes, dinners and donuts. It will be useful, especially if you will give up a bit here to share there.

NINE: Find all your obsolete prescription glasses and frames and then walk through your neighborhood and ask for more. These are especially useful because to see is to function. One more person in Haiti that can see is one more person that can help.

One possible resource to donate your prescription glasses or sunglasses is to find a local LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, or Goodwill store. These retailers serve as collection sites for the eyeglass donation program of the Lion's Club.

There may also be other medical equipment such as crutches, wheelchairs, and canes that will be useful because of the many Haiti who have received amputations . Look for a local collection agency in your area and give freely from your personal stash.

TEN: Sometimes prayer is the only thing left to do after a full day of taking care of your current pressing responsibilities at home and work. When that is the case, God is mighty to do what we would like to do but can’t. So pray for the Haitians, go to work here, and hope for God’s tender mercies in their behalf!

©2010 Marie Calder Ricks/www.houseoforder.com


michelle said...

I like this a lot, Marie. I have been wishing I could do more, and now I have all of these concrete ideas! Wonderful.

Lori Nawyn said...

Thank you, Marie. Wonderful ideas! I'm going to suggest this post to several of my friends who've wanted to help, but didn't know how.