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Relief for Haiti: Words of caution, and tips for giving

If you want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake, the simplest way is to make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. - American Red Cross Anacortes-San Juan Islands chapter
If you want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake, the simplest way is to make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund.
— image credit: American Red Cross Anacortes-San Juan Islands chapter

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed's office issued this word of caution regarding contributing to charities claiming to assist the Haiti relief effort.

The powerful earthquake in Haiti has prompted international leaders and aid organizations to urge the public to donate in the relief effort. Right now, you may feel compelled to help the families of thousands of victims there by making a donation.

While the Charities program within the Secretary of State’s Office wants you to be generous, it also urges you to not let emotions cloud good judgment when it comes to donating your money. Often, scammers use tragedies like these to say they are helping a cause and to pocket the donations of generous people.

Don’t be fooled! Make sure the group is registered with the Office of Secretary of State by checking online. Ask how much of your donation will go to the charitable cause. And don’t deal with folks who won’t give you straight answers or are high pressure.

The American Red Cross issued this statement regarding the Haiti relief effort.

If you want to help those affected by the Haitian earthquake, the simplest way is to make a donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. We are also receiving money through a third-party mobile fundraising effort sponsored by Mobile Accord. Mobile donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross. The funds will go to support the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.

You can help the victims of countless crises, like the recent earthquake in Haiti, around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent.

If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.

Editor's note: You can also contribute to the Anacortes-San Juan Islands chapter of the American Red Cross..

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