Friday, January 15, 2010

Choices for helping Haiti

There are a multitude of legitimate relief agencies ready to help the people of Haiti once logistics allow them access. Their varied missions offer individuals who want to support the relief effort the opportunity to give where their hearts are. The track record of Southern Baptist disaster relief appeals to me personally.


The on-line donation link at the site of the Baptist Global Response, the Southern Baptist relief and development organization, was temporarily down earlier today, swamped by donations for Haiti relief, BGR Associate Director Megan Riel said. “We are hoping it will be back up shortly. One hundred percent of our donations goes to the relief effort. We don’t keep any for administrative costs.” Donations can also be sent to Baptist Global Response, 402 BNA Drive, Suite 411, Nashville, TN 37217. 


BGR also provides email updates about the relief efforts. To subscribe go to the BGR homepage and complete the form in the bottom right corner.

Riel said Global Response works principally to help those who aren’t being helped by the government or other relief organizations. “An assessment team is headed that way, but we are not sure when they will get in. We are hearing that people are lined up at the border waiting to get in to help. We know that immediate needs are food, water, shelter and medical needs.”

She said what the team finds will determine the mix of immediate and long-term needs that will be BGR’s focus. “We will stay for the long haul.”

The Southern Baptist International Mission Board is sending the five-member team that includes representatives from BGR and the North American Mission Board plus disaster relief specialists from Kentucky, Mississippi and South Carolina. Don Gann from the Men’s Ministry office of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board will be representing Mississippi, Carol Wright, Men’s Ministry assistant, said via email today.

For more about Mississippi Baptist Haiti efforts, go to the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board site. It is one of the simplest and easy-to-use sites for me with a great list of five ways to help, update link and a link to the FBI fraud warning.

The Baptist Press reported that Florida Baptists, who have had a 15-year partnership with Haitian Baptists, are also sending an assessment team, and the two teams will collaborate. The Baptist Press article also said that Florida Baptists employ a missions coordinator and six indigenous directors of missions in Haiti for the Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d' Haiti, along with 15 workers at the convention's guest house, located about 17 miles from the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Here are some lists – assembled by three news groups -- of other relief organizations:

CNN list -- includes the highest-rated charities by CharityNavigator.org, which is an independent, nonprofit organization that evaluates charity groups based on effectiveness and financial stability. The sites that CNN lists are vetted by CNN journalists for credibility.


MSNBC list – lists organizations active in the country

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