What aid works — and doesn’t

The stories of the devastation in Haiti pulls at everyone’s heartstrings — well most people’s.

And many want to know what they can do to help. As Presidents Bush and Clinton said over and over: “Send money.”

Money makes the most sense 99.9 percent of the time when natural disasters strike. The money raised can be used to purchase LOCAL products that fit the LOCAL needs and provide income for LOCAL people. (Notice how I got the media bean counter mantra in there?)

Matthew Collin wrote an informative piece last week for Foreign Policy magazine on this very issue.

How Not to Help Haiti

Sending your old, useless stuff to a disaster zone is exactly that: useless — and a disaster.

I know there have been a number of stories on the national level about this exact issue. But too many local stories have been about church or civic groups gathering blankets, shoes, medicine, toys, etc as a way to help.

Perhaps, if the local media ran more stories about what the real needs are, there would be fewer episodes of wasted time and money on relief packages that are inappropriate and often useless.

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