When I wake up in the morning, I grab my iPhone and check my email, take a peek at Twitter, check the headlines on CNN.com, and then hop out of bed to make coffee and start my day. I like to ease into the morning, I guess. This morning, I noticed people were talking about some kind of disaster, so I hopped out of bed and ran to turn on CNN and sat enraptured in front of the TV for the rest of the morning in horror. The earthquake, the fires, the wall of water ripping through the Japanese countryside… and then the worry that set in, thinking of friends on the West Coast and the tsunami that might be headed their way.
After the initial shock, I just wanted to do something to help. I did a little research, and I wanted to share a few ways you too can help.
Obviously, The Red Cross is the first organization that popped into my head. They are amazing, and they have made it easy to help, just as they did after the earthquake in Haiti last year. You can donate online or you can donate $10 through your phone by texting REDCROSS to the number 90999. (You’ll be prompted to confirm with a second text reading YES, so make sure you do that.)
One of my favorite photographers – Sarah Rhoads – will be selling her prints and donating 100% of the proceeds for the next two weeks to World Vision’s Disaster Response Fund. So if you go through her, you’ll get a beautiful piece of artwork in exchange for your donation. Everybody wins.
The Japanese branch of the Salvation Army has set up shelter for people stranded in Tokyo, and are making an effort to get up to Sendai by tonight. To donate $10 toward their relief efforts, just text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888.
D.C.-based GlobalGiving has started a Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Fund, which will give aid to organizations on the ground that are providing emergency services. Their goal is to raise $150,000, and you can help them by donating online.
Prayer and good thoughts are so important and so wonderful, but they need real help too, so please consider lending a hand in whatever way you can. And feel free to leave other ways you can help in the comments!