Though much can be done to help Haiti now, even more can be done later.
Yesterday, Temple’s Haitian Student Organization hosted Help for Haiti, urging students and faculty members to donate non-perishable food items, medical supplies, baby supplies and hygienic items to aid the ongoing recovery process in the disaster-stricken country.
HSO is working with the Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia to assure the donations get to where the items are needed most and encourage students who could not make it to the collection drive to bring additional supplies to several drop-off locations at Paley Library, Tuttleman Learning Center, Tyler School of Art, Conwell Hall and the Village, Main Campus Program Board and Temple Student Government offices in the Student Center.
However, students and faculty who wish to donate to the cause should remember the recommended form of charity: cash. In the 14 days that have passed since the earthquake, aid groups have only been able to deliver supplies with varying success. While donating supplies is charitable, we are viewing images of Haiti from Philadelphia and are not educated as to what is truly needed.
The American Red Cross has collected more than $103 million in pledges, and despite the positive aspects of the financial support that has poured in since the earthquake, it is important that weeks or months from now – once the tragic images recede from our television screens and the front-page news and Rite Aid cashiers no longer ask us to donate $1 to Haiti – that students not forget about the country’s needs.
In just eight months, it will have been five years since a natural disaster swept over our own country. Hurricane Katrina destroyed many lives and brought to light images of poverty that exists in the U.S. Despite considerable progress, half a decade later, New Orleans is still in need of repair.
The earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina are two separate events, each with separate aftermaths, but it does not change the fact that after the initial instinct to help fades, many place the tragedies in the backs of their minds, reassuring themselves that they have written their checks and done their parts.
While not everyone is able to volunteer, as students, we should take advantage of this time in our lives and, if United States-based aid groups are still wanted by the Haitian people and government during the summer months, take time to fly south to do what we can to rebuild a country left now in a state of disorder and despair.