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January 15, 2010

Friday

I am so impressed with the mobile giving campaign to help the earthquake victims in Haiti -- apparently over $7 million has been received so far, with over $5 million going to the Red Cross. How COOL is that? If you want to use your cell phone for good instead of gabbing today, here's how:

To give to the Red Cross, phone users can text the word "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10, and when prompted, hit "YES" to confirm the donation.

The donation is added to the cell user's bill, and receipts are available.

Other text-message codes for donations include:

• Text the word "HAITI" to 20222 to donate $10 to the Clinton Foundation Haiti Relief Fund.

• Text "HAITI" to 25383 to donate $5 to the International Rescue Committee.

• Text "HAITI" to 85944 to donate $10 to the International Medical Corps.

Of course you can always donate any amount to the Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

Also, check with your job to see if the corporation will do matching donations -- the company I work for is matching colleague donations dollar for dollar. It made me feel really grateful and happy I work here.

Oh, and the next time I start getting myself riled up thinking about those crazypants people who shout "Death to America" and try to stuff explosives in their panties and blow up airplanes, I'm going to make myself focus instead on the mass of people in this world who give freely to help folks they have never met in a country they have likely never visited and may never see.

In my year of yes, I have decided I need to focus a whole lot more on the giving spirit and not nearly so much on the little faction of those whose spirit is programmed to take away. Truly the desire to alleviate suffering is so much stronger than the few people who want to create it.

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The news in Haiti is also a really good reminder to those of us who are fault-line-adjacent to make sure we have a plan and some supplies on hand ourselves. When I'm out and about this weekend I plan to pick up a case of bottled water, a few Lara bars and some extra pet food and write the date of purchase on the item, then stash it somewhere. You don't have to go overboard planning but a few flashlights, fresh batteries and some water will go a long way towards preparation.

If you work in an office and you wear high heels to work there is one thing you can do right now that will cost you no money at all: dig through your home closet and find an old pair of sneakers or loafers or comfortable shoes and put them in your bag and take them to work. Leave those shoes in your desk drawer.

Because I work in a high-rise building we have frequent fire drills. I know they're just drills, but the more ladies we have clopping down the stairs in their high heels the longer it takes to get outside and finish the drill. It's ridiculous how slowly the whole thing goes. In an earthquake there's glass everywhere so going barefoot may not be an option. Take five minutes this weekend to unearth an old pair of comfortable shoes and bring them to your job next week. So simple! So easy! You will feel so prepared.

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Have a great weekend!


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Edited to add (3:30 p.m.):

I know the methods of giving or donating above may not be your personal preferred method of giving and I appreciate that each person gives in the way that is best for them. You should do whatever feel right with your money, your time and your hair.

I just wanted to highlight how easy and simple it can be to donate $5 or $10 for those who may not have a lot in the bank right now to give. One thing I know for sure is that even when you have very little in your pocket, you still want to help when you can and I know from personal experience it may feel embarrassing to call some 1-800 number and try to give five or ten bucks. That's how I felt during Katrina, back then I was broke five ways to Sunday but still wanted to give anything I had. So how cool is it that you can give through a simple text message! Small amounts do add up, and technology has made it so much easier. I just got an email from a friend who said the texting campaign may have raised close to ten million dollars since Wednesday!

While there is a billing cycle (I guess this was on the news, too) of up to 90 days, the Red Cross isn't waiting 90 days to act. Like most charitable organizations I'm sure they project their incoming donations and send immediate aid based on projections of incoming cash flow. And all those texts are adding up, almost ten million dollars! That's amazing!

Just got this email from Annie T.:

I just donated to the Red Cross through my local grocery store (Lucky). They can add it right on to your grocery bill. Another easy way to give. The man behind me in line heard me donate, and so he did as well. That feels good.

Annie, that is so cool! Thanks for sharing that tip!

Also, I got so many nice notes today from people saying they were also surprised and happy hearing about the people all over the world willing to donate what they can to help and how it just makes you feel hopeful.

I could not agree more. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Posted by laurie at January 15, 2010 8:27 AM