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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti relief is everywhere. Much is needed, and much is being given. I’m moved by people’s generosity, which seems to be happening everywhere I turn.

Here in Washington DC over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the Haitian Embassy became a drop off point for goods donated. Massachusetts Avenue (a four lane road where all the embassies are located) moved slowly for many hours as hundreds and hundreds of people came by with donations; the attitude was palpably positive, and continued under spotlights late each night.

My local women’s boutique, an small independent store, is giving a percentage of sales all week to Haiti relief. They had such a good response when they first sent out the weekend sale offer, they are extending the effort. This of course helps them by bringing in customers, who are in turn happy for the chance to support Haitian relief, and money goes to Haiti, creating a win-win-win. One can of course ask why we buy something to actually give, but I’m going to stay with the positive here, and am grateful that a small independent businessperson is so civically minded. They started out by selling hand-knit sweaters on a table at the Eastern Market, and slowly developed into a successful business that is happy to give back locally and globally.

And of course it is happening on a grander scale, too. Starbucks is donating a million dollars, immediately, to the Red Cross, and giving individuals the chance to donate to Red Cross as well (100% of in-store or on-line donations goes to the Red Cross) without any purchase needed. Today on NPR I heard stories of our U.S. military using our very impressive organizational power and resources to coordinate aid in Haiti.

It seems we have learned our lesson – one of them anyway – from Katrina – to give help, and give it immediately.

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me­ - you did it to me. (Jesus speaking, from Matthew 25)

Thank you to all of you who have been moved to give to those in Haiti, in all the many ways that we can give: in the prayer vigils, the organizational efforts, financially, in goods and services. I was at a “Dancing Your Prayers” session on Saturday night, and a man said “I danced
for Haiti; they are with me always." For the generosity I see on large and small levels, I’m grateful.

by Tiffany Montavon

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