Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping Haiti

As most of you know The Chatelaines own Bonnie Vanak is a constant visitor to Haiti where she works for Food For the Poor. As there are so many charities out there and so many people telling you who to donate too, we at the Chatelaines thought we'd take this opportunity to tell you how you can help and who will do the most good. Bonnie's organization, Food For The Poor have offices and a huge warehouse in Haiti and a feeding program and orphanages and elderly home. They 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.

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 Food For The Poor, "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.”

Bonnie also recommends 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.

Bonnie finally heard from their 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 the team slept at a staff member's house out in the hallway b/c of the fear of aftershocks.

Bonnie is posting news as she gets it on her blog She is at work and buried in trying to deal with the fundraising and information arm of the operation.

Bonnie asks pleas to think good thoughts for Haiti and send prayers. They need all the positive mental energy they can get.

We at the Chatelaines are very proud of Bonnie and the work she does and we encourage all of you to help out in whatever way you can. In the spirit of helping we're going to discuss volunteering and our favorite charities this week and would love to hear from our readers and what your favorite charities are and how you pay it forward.


librarypat January 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM  

Congratulations on the quality of the organization you work with, Bonnie. As a Peace Corps volunteer many years ago, I saw the effectiveness of organizations at ground level. There are so many big name organizations that spend such a large percentage of their funds on administrative and fund raising costs, personally it is a waist to donate to them.
I will be putting up a poster at our library with the guidelines and warnings about donating with a listing of eight organizations involved in relief efforts listing their percentage of money going to programs. I am pleased to say Food For The Poor is at the top of the list.
Good luck with the relief efforts!

Joy Nash January 18, 2010 at 6:20 AM  

The stories from Haiti are just heartbreaking. This morning in the newspaper I read about one local family who have had 7 family members confirmed dead with 4 more missing.

And to think there are criminals out there stealing money intended for aid. It just boggles the mind.

Bonnie's blog is a great help in spotting unscrupulous charity appeals. Thanks for posting, Cindy.

EmilyBryan January 20, 2010 at 6:06 AM  

Sadly, Joy, there will always be people who try to profit from the misfortune of others.

Fortunately, God keeps score. Karma, reaping and sowing, whatever you want to call it, is written into the fabric of the universe. They won't always come out on top.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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