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kids caring a care package in haiti A Haitian child carries a box with food supplies at a refugee camp in Port-au-Prince on January, 19. Groups like CARE and others recommend doing research before giving donations. (Photo: Luis Acosta/AFP PHOTO/NewsCom)

How to Give to Help Haiti

CARE says do your research and help educate others

By N'Naserri Carew-Johnson | January 20 , 2010

The small Caribbean island of Haiti has been on most people's minds since a massive and deadly earthquake hit in and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince on January 12. Pictures of the suffering and literal cries for help have been heard around the world. Many people are looking for ways to help as dozens of organizations organize relief efforts. But how to know what to do and when?

"Right now, because so much of the capital city has been destroyed, it is very difficult for people to find basic things like water, food, and shelter," said Cathy Lane, Communications Manager for CARE. "So what CARE is doing is, we are sending over things like clean water, tents for shelter, and high protein biscuits."

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization that fights global poverty. It is one of the many organizations currently helping with disaster relief.

Lane had some good advice for people in the U.S. looking for ways to help in Haiti.

"The best thing you can do is to raise money for large organizations that are already doing work there," Lane said.  "It's much easier and faster, and more cost effective or cheaper to donate to one of us and we can donate or send our supplies because we have that already in place."

Organizations like CARE, UNICEF, Red Cross, and Save the Children have been working in Haiti for many years. They have been helping the poverty-stricken country before the earthquake.

CARE encourages people wanting to donate to research organizations on web sites such as www.charitynavigator.org. The site lists organizations that are approved by industry watch dog groups. These groups track organization activities to make sure they use money that is donated to them responsibly.  

People who are unable to give money can still help by learning more about what is happening and telling others about it.  

"It helps people become more informed and knowledgeable to share information," said Lane. "And it will cause all of us to be kinder and more compassionate to one another."

The immediate help of providing essentials is only the start of the work that will be needed to rebuild Haiti. The need for help to rebuild could go on for five to 10 years.

Long after the TV cameras have moved on to other stories, CARE and organizations like them will still be rebuilding hospitals, roads, and houses, Lane said. Many organizations, like the Red Cross and CARE, also help both adults and kids to deal with the trauma they have been through.

"We will be sending over counselors in the coming months to help the children and people deal with losing their loved ones and losing their homes," Lane told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.  "CARE has been there since 1954 and we will be there for a long time."

For more information on CARE and its relief efforts, check out the organization's website. And to research organizations before donating, log onto Charity Navigator's website.

CRISIS IN HAITI

Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.

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