We are witness to and participants in the largest relief effort in world history, and one that will be going on for some time. The images and tales coming out of the ravaged regions are both horrifying and heartwarming. And in the face of all the need, help is pouring forth in a manner that has never quite been experienced before. What follows is a compilation of resources and quick mentions of those who have and are stepping forward on behalf of the tsunami victims in Asia. Links are provided so you can choose how and where to lend your financial or product assistance.
Outpouring of support from the community:
>> A youth-service group called Do Something (www.dosomething.org), has set up the Kids Tsunami Relief Fund, and is encouraging kids to "make the bed, take out the garbage or serve parents breakfast in bed in exchange for donations from mom and dad."
>> American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) reported that donors had pledged $75 million as of Sunday morning. Catholic Relief Services (www.catholicrelief.org) has raised about $14 million. Save The Children (www.savethechildren.org) has mustered up $13 million. World Vision (www.wvi.org) has brought in $8.6 million. And Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org) has raised $8 million.
>> Retailers including Wal-Mart, Safeway and Whole Foods are collecting funds for the American Red Cross, while www.Amazon.com, since last Tuesday, had dedicated much of its homepage with a call for donations, also to the Red Cross, and, according to reports, had raised nearly $12.2 million from more than 151,000 donations as of Sunday afternoon.
>> Nike and the Nike Foundation have donated $500,000 each for a total cash donation of $1 million to four relief organizations: Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org), World Vision (www.wvi.org), International Federation of Red Cross (www.ifrc.org) and Northwest Medical Teams (www.nwmti.org).
>> Private citizens have even been taking the issue of providing needed relief into their own hands. Members of the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara (www.newyorkbuddhist.org/affiliate_viharas/), many who are from Sri Lanka, filled their own shipping container with canned food and rice, bandages, Advil, powdered milk, baby bottles, pots, pans, plastic plates and utensils. When the container arrives in Sri Lanka, it will be met by a brother of one of the temple members and delivered to those in need. Another individual, Geoffrey Dobbs, who was swimming when the tsunami struck and miraculously survived it, has set up Adopt Sri Lanka (www.adoptsrilanka.com) to bring quick aid to small coastal villages.
Industry associations are also doing their part:
>> The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) immediately began coordinating industry assistance with AmeriCares. According to OIA, AmeriCares "is primarily shipping medicines at this point, and cash." Any industry member wishing to donate to it can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-658-9527. OIA informs us that the Humanitarian Center is also taking donations of clothing product right now, and Barry McLerran is coordinating that and can be reached by email at email@example.com.
OIA asks that you notify the association when you make a donation so it can track it.
To this point, cash donations range from $100 to $1 million and product donations run the gamut from first-aid kits and water purification to flashlights and headlamps.
>> SurfAid International (www.surfaidinternational.org), meanwhile, is mobilizing support from the surfing community around the world.
>> SGMA International is working with Gifts In Kind International at the Super Show. Mike May, of SGMA told us, "Some of our bigger members are stepping up individually, but us as an organization, we're going to let our trade show and the efforts of Gifts In Kind, which has been a long time partner with us, lead -- what they reap out of the trade show will be a good significant industry-wide effort." Gifts In Kind International works closely with international disaster relief providers to supply the products they need. The non-profit stated that, "We are beginning to receive specific lists from these agencies, and will forward them to SGMA as they become available. Medical supplies, new clothing and shoes, personal care items and bottled water are still priorities for the people affected in this region. Please encourage your members to review current inventory for these items, as well as for product which may be identified as a future need." To respond individually or as a corporation through Gifts In Kind, go to its special tsunami website page at www.giftsinkind.org/Asia_relief.asp.