In the wake of Tuesday's devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, artists like Haitian native [artist id="1162"]Wyclef Jean[/artist] have already [article id="1629574"]put out the call for help[/article]. Now, here's your chance.
And while the full extent of the damage to the island and its people was unclear at press time, there's no doubt that it is catastrophic, and several charities are en route or already on the ground, providing assistance. According to Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator working to "advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace," here are some of the very best organizations, all of which are in need of donations — and head over to Think.MTV.com for more information.
It's very easy to contribute — here's how you can:
The American Red Cross has a full-time staff on the ground in Haiti, providing ongoing HIV/AIDS prevention and disaster preparedness programs, and has already pledged an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by the earthquake. They seek additional donations to continue providing food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.
saw its offices in Port-au-Prince suffer heavy damages in the earthquake, but is ready to provide relief, deploying "essential aid" — safe water, sanitation supplies, therapeutic foods, temporary shelter materials and medical supplies — to assist in recovery efforts.
Yele Haiti is Wyclef's own charitable organization, and has established an online donation site to help victims of the earthquake. Through his Twitter account, he's also asking his fans to lend a hand, by making a $5 donation by texting YELE to 501 501.
Oxfam America is an organization that works in places in need of assistance, using advocacy and education. In the coming weeks, Oxfam will coordinate international aid groups on the ground to bring emergency water and sanitation services to Haiti.
Partners in Health has launched the Stand With Haiti campaign, and the organization makes an effort to bring modern medical care to nine countries around the world. Partners has worked in Haiti for nearly 25 years and, since the earthquake, is currently working to provide medical assistance.
The World Food Programme is an organization that makes sure food gets distributed to people and helps victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. After the initial emergency has passed, the group continues sending food to the country to help rebuild communities. It is one of the charities involved in the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon.
Direct Relief International is a U.S.-based organization that provides medical assistance to impoverished nations, and has committed up to $1 million to aid emergency response efforts. Already, they have sent two 40-by-20-foot containers packed with more than $420,000 of medicine, supplies and food to St. Damien Children's Hospital in Port-au-Prince.
World Vision has worked in Haiti for 30 years, and is seeking donations to provide victims with food, water, blankets and tents.
Operation USA already operates in Haiti, and is sending medical aid, water-purification supplies and food supplements to the nation.
Convoy of Hope has established a command center just outside of Port-au-Prince, and is distributing food, water and supplies to the victims of the earthquake.
Samaritan's Purse is a Christian organization that, for over 35 years, has provided assistance to victims of natural disaster, war, disease and famine. In Haiti, they are helping survivors with food, water and temporary shelter.
The Salvation Army is mobilizing personnel and supplies to assist in the relief effort in Haiti, according to a representative from the organization. The Salvation Army has already dedicated $850,000 in direct aid to the country; further donations can be made at its Web site or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. The Salvation Army is also collecting $5 dollar donations by text. Mobile phone users in the United States can text the word HAITI to 52000.
Also, the State Department has set up a toll-free number to call for information about family members in Haiti: (888) 407-4747.
Head to Think.MTV.com to find a community where you, your friends and your favorite celebrities can get informed, get heard and take action on the issues that matter to you most.