Off the beaten trail

Haiti…let us help and do what we can.

This isn’t going un-noticed.  I want to write a post real quick about the situation in Haiti and hope you all will be generous in your philanthropy to organizations that can and will use your funds to help this poor nation and these people.

I feel too as though I am in limbo as one of my readers posted last week a comment, and she just so happened to be in Haiti.  I have not heard yet a response from her and my thoughts go out to her, her family, and I hope I will hear some news.

I’ll start first by telling you I went through some of the charity groups we here at Sewing For Life! give to already and all of them are on the ground, which is a good thing.  I wouldn’t normally write a post about this but since I do write sometimes about scams I want to make my own personal recommendations.  They are the following:

The Salvation Army  (providing meals, emergency aid, blankets, general assistance, relocation help – they have set up two responses on their site)

The American Red Cross

Doctors Without Borders – Les Medicines Sans Frontiers —  (providing doctors and medicine)

Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services —  (80% of Haitians are Catholic)

Search Dog Foundation  (sniffer dog and search teams to aid in finding the missing)

Any amount will help.  A little bit from a lot will bring relief.

I also wanted to talk about some of the lessons we Americans learned after 9/11, the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.  First off, one of the most amazing things that happened after 9/11 was the outpouring of support we had for the victims.  Aid came from all over, including around the world, but it was mostly from ourselves, to help our fellow Americans.  This happened again with Katrina and again with the Asian Tsunami.  We as a people realized without doubt, we are not going to stand by and do nothing.  It just isn’t in our nature, but the lessons that came out of those very significant events are numerous, specifically:

1. America and mostly AMERICANS (the people) are the absolute most generous people on the face of this earth.  Period.

2. An absolute truth IS; you cannot depend on anyone other then yourself for you and your family’s survival in the time of crisis or disaster.  You must be prepared.  You must have an emergency plan, emergency food, water, clothing, tools, supplies, medicine, pet food, diapers….everything you’ll need to survive on your own for a minimum of 3 days.

3. The charity groups that you feel compelled to give to during this immediate crises must already have their emergency aid on hand in order to be effective.  So what you give them today will no doubt go towards helping re-stock their inventories and not necessarily be used directly in this Haitian disaster.  We learned this lesson from Katrina.  Aid was already available and ready to go.  Stockpiles of goods that came later (the good intentions of people wanting to help), much of it, laid waste in warehouses, never distributed.

4. People feel an overwhelming need to ‘do something’.  So we give money to sometimes unscrupulous people.  I often write about scams.  Be wary during this time of disaster.  Do not give money to any group, person, government, or charity that you have not thoroughly researched.  Ask for a receipt in writing for your donation.

5. Learn how you can prepare for a disaster.  Take a class on disaster preparedness.  I’ve taken our CERT training here locally and am going to share the following list of what you should keep in an emergency duffle bag or waterproof tote.   This comes from our training materials.

(Forgive me for some of the odd layout… but here you go.)


Store at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food.  Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking and little or no water.  If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno®.  Select food items that are compact and lightweight.  Include a selection of the following foods in your disaster supply kit:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Staples¾sugar, salt, pepper
  • High-energy foods¾peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons, or persons on special diets
  • Comfort/stress foods¾cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
Kitchen Items
  • Manual can opener
  • Mess kits or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • All-purpose knife
  • Household liquid bleach to treat drinking water
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
  • Re-sealing plastic bags
  • If food must be cooked, small cooking stove and a can of cooking fuel
First Aid Kit*

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.  A first aid kit should include:

  • First aid manual
  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleaning agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pairs)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Sunscreen
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
Nonprescription Drugs
  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Antidiarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (used to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Vitamins
  • Activated charcoal (used if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils*
  • Emergency preparedness manual*
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Fire extinguisher:  small canister, ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Duct tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare(s)
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Work gloves
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shutoff wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting

  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
Clothing and Bedding

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves*
  • Thermal underwear*
  • Sunglasses*
Household Documents and Contact Numbers

  • Personal identification, cash (including change) or traveler’s checks, and a credit card
  • Copies of important documents: birth certificates, marriage certificate, driver’s license, social security cards, passport, wills, deeds, inventory of household goods, insurance papers, immunizations records, bank and credit card account numbers, stocks and bonds.  Be sure to store these in a watertight container.
  • Emergency contact list and phone numbers
  • Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go
  • An extra set of car keys and house keys
Special Items

Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
For Baby*
  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications
For Adults*
  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Entertainment¾games and books
  • Important Family Documents ¾keep these records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Important telephone numbers

*Items marked with an asterisk are recommended for evacuation.

Thank you for reading…and as I will continue to keep my thoughts, prayers and hopes up for the people of Haiti it is my hope you will too.