Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti | Editorial

Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti.

As they have when disaster has struck other parts of the nation and world, islanders are responding to assist relief efforts. Here are ways that you can help:

— San Juan Homeschool Group is raising money for Compassion International, which provides basic essentials and education to 65,000 Haitian children. Proceeds will help Compassion International meets the needs of children affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake. The homeschool group held a bake sale Monday at Friday Harbor MarketPlace. If you missed the fund-raiser, you can still help: Call Jodi O’Dell, 378-2268.

— Calvary Chapel San Juan Island: A missionary from the church will go to Haiti to assist in relief efforts there. For more information, call Pastor Joe Gamez, 378-7268.

— Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church: The congregation will participate in the annual worldwide offering called “One Great Hour of Sharing” around Lent, Feb. 17. All Presbyterian churches in the United States will raise $100,000 for Haiti.

“We care for the survivors and want to see assistance brought to people as soon as possible,” deacon Bob Barnhart said. “Our congregation will be involved in prayer and gathering some funds to send through Red Cross or PC-USA.”

— Islands Community Church: Pastor Tim Daniels of Islands Community Church in Friday Harbor is recommending donations to Samaritan’s Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org). “They are a much faster, more versatile disaster relief than the U.N. or the U.S. government,” he said.

— Other ways you can help: You can donate to the American Red Cross International Response Fund by texting “Haiti” to 90999 on your cell phone; a $10 donation will be made to the Red Cross and added to your cell phone bill.

You can also send donations to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013; by calling (800) REDCROSS or (800) 257-7575 (Spanish), or visiting www.redcross.org.

The Salvation Army Web site notes that clothing and food donations are impractical to transport; cash is making the biggest difference right now.

Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

The need in Haiti reminds all of us how much we really have, even in the most trying of economic times. Give if you can, but make sure your donation goes where it’s intended.

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

Make sure the group is registered with the Office of Secretary of State; you can do this by visiting www.sos.wa.gov/charities/search.aspx.

Ask how much of your donation will go to the charitable cause.

Don’t deal with folks who won’t give you straight answers or are high pressure.

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