How to Help Haiti from Here
A young patient at one of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (or MINUSTAH) emergency clinics.
When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, Canadians began mobilizing relief efforts at the local level. While large international agencies like the UN Food Program are attempting to provide aid, they revealed to the BBC on Friday that they have only been able to assist four thousand of the estimated two million people that require food supplies. As of Friday, the UN estimated that more than forty-five thousand people had died, while three hundred thousand were left homeless.
Here’s our guide to events happening in our city so far, as well how you can help right now or whenever and however it’s most convenient for you to.
→ To donate online or over the phone to organizations providing help in Haiti, the CBC has a detailed page providing information on many charities, including World Vision, Oxfam, UNICEF, and others. (It also includes background information on each charity and their connection to the aid efforts in Haiti so that you can make sure your money works the way you want it to.) Torontoist especially recommends Doctors Without Borders. All donations given by individual Canadians to eligible charities providing relief will be matched by the Canadian government, up to a maximum of fifty million dollars.
→ To donate via text message, text “Haiti” to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army through Rogers and Bell, or text “Haiti” to 25383 to donate $5 to the International Rescue Committee.
Port-au-Prince viewed from above, of one of the makeshift tent cities set up in the Haitian capital.
→ Local visual artist and frequent Torontoist subject Tyler Clark Burke has organized a food and donation drive for Partners in Health: Haiti. Using a vehicle donated by Autoshare, Burke will drive to your house on the afternoon of Sunday, January 17 and personally pick up donations—provided you live between the area bordered by Dupont (in the north), Lakeshore (in the south), Spadina (in the east), and Roncesvalles (in the west). To participate, email Burke before 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon to schedule a pick-up.
→ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is hosting “To Haiti With Love” on Sunday, January 24 at 8 p.m. The $10 fundraiser will feature prominent DJs, musicians, dancers, and members of the queer theatre community and is hosted by Da Kink In My Hair’s Trey Anthony.
→ At the city-wide level, the Canadian Red Cross has organized a donation campaign with volunteers stationed during rush hours at five TTC subway stations across the GTA. Starting Monday, January 18, and continuing until Friday, January 22, Bloor-Yonge, King, Finch, Sheppard-Yonge, and Kennedy will all host volunteers accepting cash donations for Haiti. LCBO stores across Ontario have donation boxes for the Canadian Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund at every checkout, as well.
First aid kits dropped, by helicopter, into Port-au-Prince.
→ As a nod to the tragedy and the importance of international aid, the CN Tower will be lit up in the red and blue of the Haitian flag from January 15 through to January 22. The Canada Lands Company, which owns the Tower, is “providing visitors with opportunities to donate to the Canadian Red Cross. Visitors can add a donation at the time of their ticket purchase or use donation boxes on site,” according to a release issued on Friday.
→ On TV, Citytv is airing a half-hour news special at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 17, “Help for Haiti.” Throughout the program, viewers will be given information on how to contribute to relief efforts and can donate directly to Partners in Health through text messages.
→ Over on the radio, on Monday, January 18, all of Astral Media’s eighty-two radio stations (among them EZ Rock, Newstalk, and Virgin Radio), will take part in “Help Haiti Day,” with a centralized 1-800 number to donate money to the Canadian Red Cross.
→ NotableTV has pledged to donate $1 to Yele Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s relief charity, for every two people who “send their name and e-mail, [with the] subject line ‘Help Haiti,’ to [email protected].” (Though you may perhaps want to reconsider Yele Haiti as the organization most deserving of your donations.) The “Toronto, Help Haiti!” Facebook group run by NotableTV currently boasts almost four thousand members, and the details of a “major fundraising party” will be announced over the next few days.
As more and more events to help Haiti are planned, more and more make it to Urban Planner, our daily event listings. If you know of an event we should include, please email its details to [email protected]. Or, if you know of another way to donate, or another charity or organization worthy of Torontoist readers’ support, please share it in the comments below.
All photos from the United Nations Development Programme’s Flickr set.