I think I speak for all of us when I say that I'm saddened to the core to have heard about (and continue to learn about) the terrible earthquake in Haiti, the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere. With this earthquake, not only the largest and capital city in Haiti was demolished, but that also means the rest of the country has broken down. The hospital, many embassies, countless relief organization headquarters and even the prison have been demolished, killing thousands and setting free serious criminals. There are thousands dead (we may not know for another week what the real deathtoll is), and the entire country needs international help to regain any basic needs for its men, women and children (not to mention pets), including basic shelter, food and clean water.
Please consider joining me in supporting the relief efforts in this time of need (list of organizations below). Right now, they need monetary donations more than goods, so I'm asking each and every one of you 420 members to help me by donating money. You can hand it to me at the next meetup you attend or you can PayPal me ([address removed]), and I will make sure that EVERY PENNY goes to the organization of your choice (from the list below). I say "every penny" because Paypal does charge a processing fee, but Paul and I will donate that equivalent ourselves.
It gets better... For every dollar you spend from today -- Jan. 15, 2010 -- through Feb. 28, 2010, Paul and I will match your donation. If you give me $5, we donate $5 ourselves and your $5 becomes $10. If you decide to donate through me after Feb. 28, your money still gets where you want it to go, we just won't match it.
Here is the list from which you can choose (if you're Paypalling me, just include the desired charity in the comment field; if you don't specify, your donation will be applied to the Red Cross):
* American Red Cross
* Habitat for Humanity
* Doctors Without Borders
* The Salvation Army
* Best Friends Animal Society -- to help the animals who have been stranded or orphaned
In a case like this, every little bit counts -- so please donate what you can, whether that's $1 or $100. I know times are tough for everyone these days, but even a dollar or two will make a huge difference.
If you'd like to donate to any of these 5 organizations and get the receipt yourselves, feel free to just click on those links and then forward to me the email receipt you get from the charity. We will happily double your contribution in this manner, as well. (I know not all of you know me personally, so handing me money or a check may seem like a suspicious way to go. For you, I offer you this avenue to make you feel more comfortable.)
Thanks a lot, everyone. I know we can make a difference! With 425+ members, if we all donate $5, we can raise $2,125!