Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hope for Haiti

When terrible things happen, our natural instinct is to want to help. But unfortunately, there are scam artists out there willing to take advantage of the misfortune of others. However, when it comes to the Haitian earthquake, I know a legitimate organization to which I can donate.

Because of Bonnie Vanak.

Bonnie is a Leisure Book/Nocturne author, my friend and fellow Chatelaine and for her day job, she frequently travels to third world counties (and was scheduled to go to Haiti in a couple weeks) with Food for the Poor. Here's what Bonnie had to say in a recent email to The Chatelaines:

from Bonnie Vanak...

Yes, I'm telling people to donate to my organization, Food For The Poor. We have offices and a huge warehouse in Haiti and a feeding program and orphanages and elderly home. We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and here is the link to the FAQ page about us for those who want to know about what we do and who endorses us. http://www.foodfort about/faq/

The big concern with organizations right now will be those who are legit and those who are not. For those wanting to donate to other organizations, here is a link to Charity Navigator, which rates charities and you can check out if the charity is "official" or a scam and where they deliver aid.

Charity Navigator said about us, "We are proud to announce that Food For The Poor has earned our eighth consecutive four-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances. Less than 1% of the charities we rate have received at least 8 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Food For The Poor consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America.”

CARE, UNICEF, World vision, Doctors without borders (love that one, they are out there doing triage and they lost their three centers) and Partners in Health (Paul Farmer) are all very good as well, just a few I can think of. (Emily popping in here! I would add the Red Cross to this list.)

We just heard from our team on the ground in Haiti. It's "chaos" there with tens of thousands of people camping out in the parks because of the aftershocks. People are afraid to go back inside, even if their homes are intact. Even our team slept at a staff member's house out in the hallway b/c of the fear of aftershocks.

I'm posting news as I can get it on my blog, but I'm at work and buried in trying to deal with the fundraising and information arm of the operation.

And please, ask people to think good thoughts for Haiti and send prayers. They need all the positive mental energy they can get.




Thank you, Bonnie for being our hands and feet in a desperate place. As a side note, two of Bonnie's friends and co-workers who were in Haiti have finally been located and are safe.


librarypat said...

Thank you for the heads up on Food For The Poor and Charity Navigator. There are so many well known charities out there that use way too much for their administrative costs and fund raising with not enough going to the services they say they will provide.
We have already made a donation to Catholic Relief Services (which I checked out) which also has a good reputation. Our parish has a sister parish in Haiti. It is in a remote area and no one has yet heard how they have fared.
I am glad to see our government has sent in troops and hospital ship. They will be excellent in providing desperately needed care and supplies. I wonder if future aid will include an increased Peace Corps presence to work on rebuilding. You get a big return on the money spent in most of their programs.
Bonnie, I commend your work with this organization. If I hadn't gotten married right after getting back from the Peace Corps, yours is an organization I would have liked to work for. Good luck in Haiti and thank you for all the good you do.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the info on Food for the Poor -- I'll add them to my list of organizations I'll try to support. I've already donated to the Red Cross, and have faith in their ability to get help to where it's needed, but also like the idea of working with smaller, perhaps more personal, groups.

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--Giving through your church is an excellent way of knowing where the money is going.

EmilyBryan said...

Marcy--Smaller organizations often have a tighter focus for their charity and are able to make more of a difference in places that are in need. FOOD FOR THE POOR was in Haiti long before this disaster.