More than two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the impoverished Haiti, destroying buildings and killing hundreds of thousands of people living in the small country, to this date people are still wondering what they can do to make a difference. This disaster touches me on a personal level, because Haiti shares the island of Hispanola with my home country of Dominican Republic. Growing up less than 250 miles from the capital of Haiti has made me want to help my Haitian neighbors in the most meaningful and appropriate ways, but I find myself limited by my own financial abilities. Even though more than two weeks has passed since this catastrophe, people are continuing to die of disease, starvation, and lack of health care. Moreover, volunteers are being limited by lack of supplies and funding.
My first reaction to the horrifying news was I was worried for my friends and family in Dominican Republic. Many of my relatives informed me that even they felt tremors and shaking over 300 miles away. I also realized that this horrifying event could have just as easily occurred in my country of Dominican Republic, and this could have just as easily been my friends and family in CNN. The thought made me realize that I needed to do something, but by no means am I rich enough to donate a large some of money, and by no means do I have the luxury of traveling there to assist as I have no medical experience and I do not speak French. So, I used my creative mind to come up with ways in which I could assist in the efforts. This is when I realized that a little goes a long way, and there are so many things that can be done to help make a difference, that even a person with little money can make a big impact. What I decided to do was to donate all of our advertising money we make here on AdmixWeb from Google Ads and our sponsors for the months of January-March to Haiti. It may not be a ton of money, but what I have learned from volunteers actually there in Haiti, every bit can help. Here are some ideas of what you can do to be creative to help Haiti. And remember, this country does not just need immediate help, but they will need to be assisted for a long time, even after many have forgotten what had happened, and even the smallest effort can mean a big difference to this suffering nation.
Get the Word Out
One of the most important things you can do to help is to spread the word about the need for assistance in Haiti, and to keep Haiti fresh in everyone’s mind. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, is a great way to spread the word about different issues that need attention, and at this time it is a great way to share your concern for this country and increase awareness. You could even ask each of your friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter to donate just one dollar, and think about it. If you could get half of your 200 friends to assist in the effort, that could be $100 more dollars that can be used to help the cause. You would be surprised how much only one click on your social media page helps, and it does not cost a dime.
Make What you Can
When it comes to making a difference, money is not the only thing you can give. Instead, consider putting your creative juices to work to create something. For example, if you are a Graphic Designer, consider designing a logo, flyer or pamphlet for the cause. If you are a Web Designer, see if any non-profit is looking a web page, and consider volunteering your time to make a web page for them. Even if you are an artist, singer, or writer, donate your creative products in a way that can make a difference.
Give your Time
Another thing you can do that does not cost anything is giving your time to the cause. Maybe you are like me, and are not in any position to fly to Haiti to volunteer, but consider giving a few hours of your time on the weekends or whenever you are free. There are local groups in every community trying to organize or stock canned goods, supplies, or resources. Also, many cities are looking for volunteers to put together various fundraisers. One of my favorite quotes about volunteering is, “Volunteers do not get paid because they are worthless, but rather because they are priceless.” Remember your time is worth so much to someone in need.
The American Red Cross is in need of persons to donate blood, and this is something almost all of us can do to make a difference. This does not cost you anything and can make a true difference in the life of another. Currently, there is a serious lack of blood for transfusions in Haiti, and they are desperately looking for persons who qualify to donate. Once again this is a way to make a difference without ever even opening your checkbook.
Auction Old Items
This is something I thought of the other day when my wife and I realized we needed to sell a few items we have. Instead of just donating them to Goodwill to get a tax refund, I though we could try to sell them on Ebay or Craigslist, and hopefully we can get a enough money to donate our profits to Haiti. Like I said, every dollar counts, so if you have items sitting around your house that you do not use, consider selling them and donating the profits to Haiti or any other important cause.
No matter what higher power you believe in, (and if you do not believe in a higher power ignore this tip), remember to pray for those in need and for guidance for ways in which you can help. I believe in the power of Prayer, and I think it is something we can do that takes little time and effort and can make a true impact.
Donate Even a Small Amount
Now, all of the above suggestions have to do with things you can do that do not cost you anything. However, that does not take away the fact that country and the volunteers will need money in order to assist victims, buy supplies, organize orphanages, feed the homeless, make shelters, and the list goes on. So, donate what you can. Perhaps you have $5 dollars to give, or perhaps you will need to sacrifice by not going to the movies or dinner this weekend, but do so with the fact in mind that there is always someone in a worst position than you. And, as Anne Frank so wisely said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Holly Lamarche is a writer and attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana. Holly lived in Santo Domingo for two years, where she taught at a local private High School, and she currently writes and edits part-time for AdmixWeb and lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.
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