As ever-more horrific dispatches from Haiti pour in, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the carnage. But even though Haiti requires an almost incomprehensible amount of relief-aid to merely staunch the bleeding, there are myriad opportunities for you to help -- and every shred of effort counts. How can Bostonians get involved? Read on:
FOR THOSE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE
To aid local families with ties to Haiti, Boston Public Health Commission has launched a resource center, which is being operated out of the SEIU Local 1199,150 Mount Vernon St, Dorchester | 617.284.1199 | www.bphc.org. Starting Thursday, January 14, it's open from 9 am to 9 pm, and will "remain open thoughout the weekend and possibly into next week, depending on need," according to a media release from the City of Boston. The center plans to provide translators and crisis councilors, as well as computers and phone lines for local families in need.
Anyone requiring assistance from Boston's Haitian Consulate should contact Consul Général Marie Andrine, 545 Boylston St, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02116 | 617.266.3660 phone | 617.266.4060 fax.
Also in that vein, the Boston Haitian Reporter publishes an extensive Boston Haitian resource guide, which includes info on community resources (such as medical services, counselors, and culutral coalitions) in the Boston metro area.
HOW TO DONATE
Already there have been opportunist scammers prowling Craigslist, trying to cash in on the tragedy. Before you fling open your wallet, the City of Boston urges you to visit www.interaction.org, where you'll find a list of "credible responding organizations that accept donations for international emergencies." You can also scope out orgs on GuideStar, which tracks the efficiency of nonprofits' fund distribution.
For go-to charities, you already know about International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and the Salvation Army. Also, Wyclef Jean has jumped into the fray, with Yele Haiti (text "YELE" to 501501 to make a $5 donation). See the Globe's list on boston.com or check out the New York Times' alphabetical list for a comprehensive list of charitable orgs. To round out your local options, here are a plethora of groups with strong Boston ties.
This nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization based in Stamford, Connecticut (who've been "providing humanitarian aid to Haiti since 1984"), set up this fund to help victims.
Bread of Compassion
As this Wayland-based organization reports on its Web site, they'd been planning a trip to Haiti for March 1 (which would involve 20 local health-care professionals and volunteers to help provide Haitians with medical and dental care); now they've been "bumped into high gear." Send donations via PayPal or make checks out to: Bread of Compassion,6 Loker St, Wayland, MA, 01778.
Catholic Charities of Boston
The Archdiocese of Boston is collecting funds through Catholic Relief Services. Local parishes will be taking earthquake-relief donations on January 16 and 17 and/or the weekend of January 30 and 31.