Help in the Pacific

As much as I’d like to go on jawing about movies, music, and television, I figured this space could be put to better use highlighting some quick resources to help out the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific. Last weekend’s box office take for Battle: Los Angeles may prove that disasters are big business in pop culture, but when they happen in real life it’s another matter entirely. Instead of buying a movie ticket this week, I suggest you give your dollars to one of these organizations:

*The American Red Cross makes it extremely easy to donate funds to its response efforts. If you’re too addled to head to its website or make a donation over the phone (1-800-RED-CROSS), all you have to do is text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. The donations work, too: In the first 24 hours after the disaster, the Red Cross dispatched 62 response teams of about 400 doctors, nurses, and support staff.

*While everyone may know about the Red Cross, fewer people have heard about Shelterbox, a UK-based organization that helps house displaced people after disasters. Shelterbox packs lightweight, waterproof emergency boxes containing a tent (that can house ten people), thermal blankets, water purification systems, basic tools, and coloring and activity books for children, among other items necessary for survival. Every donation of $950 translates into another box for a family in need.

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*Doctors Without Borders is also seeking donations. A report filed on its website notes that, although injured people had been evacuated by helicopter from the affected areas, many elderly people were still there and need the medical teams to reach them. You can donate to them online, over the phone (1-888-392-0392), or even by regular postal mail.

*You can also donate money through some sites you might be visiting more regularly anyway. iTunes has a page where you can buy donations, and some of those annoying Facebook games you play (FarmVille and such) have set it up so that virtual purchases translate to real-life donations.

Did I miss a worthy cause or organization? Let me know in the comments.


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