Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

I know I haven't posted in a long while and I've got loads to share, but I found this article on Yahoo this morning. It's hard to sit back and wait, not knowing what to do to help...

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

Massive Interest in Texting for Haiti

by Mike Krumboltz

9 hours ago

920 Votes

With Haiti still reeling from Tuesday's devastating earthquake, the Red Cross has stated that it has run out of medical supplies on the island nation.

More supplies are on the way, but it is unknown when they will arrive. Meanwhile, on the Web, people eager to help are seeking out unique ways in which they can help.

In the Search box, some of the biggest queries are for different ways to "text to help." For example, the Red Cross has set up a system where a cell phone user can text "Haiti" to the number 90999. The text message will result in a $10 donation to the Red Cross. So far, the campaign has been a massive hit. According to Mashable, the texting option has already raised over $800,000.

Another popular option for cell phone users eager to help: Text "Yele" to 501501. Doing so will result in a $5 donation to Yéle Haiti, a grassroots organization started by singer and Haiti native Wyclef Jean. Over the course of the day, Web searches on Wyclef and his organization have soared to record highs.

Wyclef, famous for his participation in the Fugees as well as his successful solo career, has been outspoken in seeking donations, especially via his Twitter account.

We could find no stats on how successful his drive has been, but based on anecdotal stories from the Web, text-to-give campaigns have the potential to make a big difference. The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed several young people who have made donations and have also asked their friends to donate via social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Even if you'd rather not donate via text message, there are other ways to give your support to those who need it most. The official sites for the Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and Wyclef's Yéle Haiti are all accepting donations. Searches on those organizations surged tremendously on Wednesday afternoon.