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Haiti: How to help locally and wisely

When a tragedy such as the earthquake in Haiti strikes, it is sometimes hard to see how those of us in Charlotte, North Carolina can help. But with millions of people homeless, injured or worse, we cannot simply sit back and watch these events unfold.

According to an article in the Charlotte Observer this morning, The World Food Program has distributed more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations in Haiti by Tuesday, reaching only a fraction of the 3 million people thought to be in desperate need. 100 million ready-to-eat rations are needed in the next 30 days, but WFP says it only had 16 million meals in the pipeline.

Numerous organizations are lending a hand in the devastating aftermath of the earthquakes in Haiti. While monetary donations are the most obvious ways you can help, knowing who the most effective organizations to send money to can sometimes be hard.

While we hope that every organization has charitable intent, the FBI urges people who are looking for ways to help to be wary of solicitations that could be from scam artists by passing along these tips:

  • Ignore unsolicited e-mails, and do not click on links within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain computer viruses. Open attachments only from know senders.
  • Decline to give personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations, rather than relying on others who claim in e-mails that they will channel the donation to established groups.

The U.S. Dept of State's website suggests texting 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross as an immediate way to help with relief efforts.

Click here to find out ways you can help locally.

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