Both of my morning newspapers had front page news about Haiti and the 7.0 earthquake. The phrase “the poorest country in the western hemisphere” was repeated so many times in the reporters’ articles in order to drive home the fact that there is a lot of people who are currently without home, food, health care and still looking for family, friends and other loved ones. There was an article about how a group of teenagers from interior British Columbia arrived in Haiti about four hours prior to the earthquake, how their families still have not been able to get into contact with the students (they were there to volunteer in the country).

There’s this blog entry by Chris Sacca about different ways that you can help. Many of them seem to be American-centric, which is great if you’re living in the US.

For Canadians looking to help, you can make donations to the Canadian Red Cross, the International Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). There are countless other organizations in Canada that are looking for donations, generally in the form of money. Also, the federal government of Canada will match all donations (a dollar per dollar that is donated) up to $50 million – this will be in addition to their own aid efforts. If you do choose to make a donation in order to help, please look for an organization that will do something that you believe in. There are organizations that are dedicated to making sure that people get clean water, that they get food, medication, shelter, clothing. Find an organization that won’t eat up the majority of your donation in administration fees. Make a difference, everyone.

Of course, as a university student, there is always someone asking you to donate money on campus. There will be people asking me to donate to countless organizations, such as The Kidney Foundation of Canada (which already gets an annual donation from me, my mom volunteers with them to go door-to-door to get donations in my neighbourhood), Canadian Blood Services (in the form of money and in blood) and (the one that I saw today) the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. I make donations to organizations that I believe in, the ones that I feel honestly make a difference. I tried donating blood more than once – on time I was slightly anemic and they wouldn’t take it, the other time it was right about the time after I got my ears pierced and they refused to take it.

Having grown up in British Columbia, every year in grade school I’d learn about how we’re “overdue for the big one” as British Columbia is located in the ring of fire and has not had a major earthquake in over 200 years. We learned about what to do in the event of an earthquake, we learned about tsunamis and we learned about what we should have available to us in a waterproof kit. Want to be prepared? Check it out, it is always good to be prepared.

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