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.