You Can Help Those In Haiti

We've all seen the horrifying devastation in Haiti after a 7.0 quake rocked the Caribbean nation last month. As of this writing, up to 200,000 people were missing and/or presumed dead. It has certainly been a sobering display of human tragedy. It has also been an opportunity for those more fortunate to step up and lend a helping hand.

And so they have. Immediately in the wake of the destruction, many players within the construction industry reached out to the Haitian people with donations of equipment and funds. Specifically, JCB Americas Inc. reported its donation of $150,000 to help with disaster relief in Haiti. Case New Holland (CNH) was matching employee cash donations dollar for dollar to $100,000, in addition to making a $50,000 company donation to the relief effort. There are no doubt countless other examples of companies - to say nothing of individuals - who are doing whatever they can to help, and we applaud everyone's efforts.

Those in the rental industry are a helpful bunch by nature. You're in the business of assisting people with solving their problems. And there's a lot you can do in response to this latest tragedy. There are organizations that will accept your donations and contributions, but that's only one way of looking at it. The silver lining to horrible disasters like the one taking place in Haiti is that they can often be a catalyst for change elsewhere. As you sit in relative ease and comfort in your regular place of business, consider what you can do in your own community to help those in need. With your inventory of equipment, there are sure to be opportunities for you to share it when the need arises. It doesn't have to be a profound natural disaster; maybe it's as simple as donating pumps when spring flooding threatens local property. Or maybe it's offering up a few generators during a power outage. Whatever the call is, you can be there to help. In return, you gain positive exposure, but more importantly, you strengthen your community, which benefits everyone.

Here are some options if you're interested in helping those in Haiti:

  • To donate $10 to the American Red Cross, text Haiti to 90999. The amount will be added to your next phone bill. The organization is also accepting donations through its International Response Fund, www.redcross.org
  • To donate to the United Nations World Food Programme, which is planning to distribute ready-to-eat meals to 2 million people in Haiti, visit www.wfp.org
  • To find out how to help the International Rescue Committee, visit www.theIRC.org or call toll free, 1-877-REFUGEE.
  • To donate to Doctors Without Borders, which is also treating earthquake victims, go to www.doctorswithoutborders.org
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