Haitian Earthquake Relief: Don’t forget the little guys!

I have had more than one person reach out to me recently asking for suggestions of reputable agencies to which they could donate money to help the Haiti relief effort. While there are any number of well-kown organizations I could direct them to, I wanted to take moment to encourage others to consider the “little guys” when choosing where to give.

When major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti strike there are literally millions of people who spring into action by donating money to agencies providing relief. Typically speaking it is the biggest organizations that receive the lion’s share of this financial support. This is largely because these organizations have a long-standing reputation for providing services and they have become the default choice for the media and the govenment to refer donors to.

While it’s great to have several capable and credible organizations as a “go to,” let’s not forget that there are hundreds of other smaller agencies that are able to respond in the time of need as well. And while these larger organizations receive a windfall of financial support during times of crisis, it is often at the expense of the smaller agencies who see their operating budgets suffer as the money they so desperately need gets shifted elsewhere.

One organization that I would like to refer you to in regard to the Haiti relief effort is Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) Services. They have responded with an initial grant of $25,000 to be used in assisting Haitian families affected by the earthquake. This along with additional funds that they raise will be used to provide clean water, emergency shelter and medical aid – as well as long-term rebuilding efforts – to the people of Haiti.

The agency’s goal is to intergrate Jesus’ message of redemption with practical acts of compassion. “A compassionate response during a disaster tangibly expresses Christ’s love and opens doors for other ministries”, says Phil Skellie, CAMA’s president.

No matter where you choose to give you should feel good knowing that your generosity will help bring relief and healing to people who are in desperate need. But if you would like your dollars to mean just a little bit more – not only to those receiving the aid but to those whose mission you are supporting – then please consider donating to one of the “little guys” this time around.

If you know of any “little guys” who are involved with disaster relief projects in Haiti, please feel free to post a link in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “Haitian Earthquake Relief: Don’t forget the little guys!

  1. here is a recent email i got in regards to what CAMA & CMA are doing in relief efforts:
    Dr. Benedict and I just returned from a weekend in the Southeastern District, ministering to our Haitian congregations there. On Saturday evening, we participated in a service of consolation and hope held for the Haitian community in South Florida at Broward Community College. As the death toll in Haiti approaches an estimated number of 200,000 (more than 60 times that of 9/11!), nearly every one of the hundreds who attended the memorial could list many relatives and friends who had perished.

    On Sunday morning, I spoke at two Haitian C&MA churches while Dr. Benedict traveled to two other churches of the Haitian Association. We asked in one of the churches how many had lost a relative or loved one, and nearly every hand went up! Please continue to pray. Many others have had no word on loved ones missing and presumed dead. They are grappling with the reality that they may never know how their loved ones died or where they were buried.

    In spite of the incredible suffering and pain, I want to report that the brothers and sisters are strong in their faith and full of the hope that can only come from a faith rooted in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is great unity among these people and an incredible sense of gratitude for what the rest of the Alliance community has already done for them and has promised to do going forward. “Now I really know that I am part of the Alliance family” was a comment that I heard over and over again.

    CAMA has identified a relief worker, Drew Bishop (Andy’s son), who will be located on site in Haiti to move the work of relief and rebuilding forward. It is likely that CM will also endeavor to place an official worker from the Haitian Association there to assist CAMA and to help to organize the fledgling C&MA churches in Haiti into a national church that can then relate directly to the Alliance World Fellowship (as do the churches of the neighboring Dominican Republic).

    Three C&MA-related churches in the earthquake zone collapsed and will need to be completely rebuilt along with the schools and clinics that they ran. This certainly means that work teams from our geographic districts will be needed later this year and into the future when arrangements can be made for this to occur. (It will be weeks or months before this phase of the rebuilding can begin.) The current giving from C&MA churches to the CAMA Haiti earthquake relief fund stands at approximately $500,000. The Southeastern District is also maintaining a fund to assist those families in the U.S. churches who have unprecedented expenses related to the disaster. This fund will certainly be exhausted as the need in this area is overwhelming as well. If your churches have not yet contributed to the relief effort, it might be well to consider this opportunity as they deliberate on their response.

    copy and paste this link to “give” to CAMA http://www.cmalliance.org/give/relief/

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