Cash, not clothes

Donate money, not non-perishable items.

Americans need to be aware of their donations to the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc and devastation halfway across our planet. When devastation strikes a part of our globe, Americans usually find it in their hearts to give aid.

But to what end?

Americans will send anything from blankets to teddy bears to old socks and shoes.

That is not the most effective way to help out — send money instead.

We, as a nation, send all kinds of items from the kindness of our hearts thinking it will benefit people in need, but what happens when it gets to the place it needs to go?

It sits there, and doesn’t do anyone any good.

Take the Philippines, for example. Everything is wiped out there, there is no food, no shelter. According to a New York Times article, over 4 million Filipinos have been displaced.

When you send a billion blankets across the globe, who is going to unpack those and distribute them to where they need to go?

According to an International Business Times article, there is one road open in Tacloban City. The eleven-kilometer long road takes about six hours to travel one way.

That road leads to an airport in the Philippines. Imagine medicine and food planes competing for runway space with planes filled with nasty smelly clothes.

We did the same thing when Haiti got rocked a couple years ago. We gave them so much crap, they couldn’t distribute any of the goods anywhere. Pictures of rubble in Haiti showed a mixture of catastrophe and donated goods.

Instead of helping, the donations and good-spirited giving efforts did the opposite. It cluttered the island country, made it harder to move all of it around, and mostly all of it went to waste.

Granted, families who actually received these goods could definitely benefit from the extra warmth and goods. But when another catastrophe hits soon afterward, all those donations are wasted anyway.

It just isn’t helping. People who are kind enough to unload all the contents of these planes day after day don’t have time for that.

When I first saw the devastation from Google Earth, it looked like hell. The before pictures showed beautiful marinas and natural colors. The after pictures showed the same images without the homes.

We need to send money.

Cash money.

There are organizations and companies in the Philippines who are better fitted to handle aid than people 8,000 miles away.

The Philippine Red Cross knows where to spend and spread this money. It is better to handle the devastation domestically. The best way to handle it is to send money to the country that needs it.

From there, the money can be distributed in a way that makes the most sense for the people in trouble.

The Philippines are running out of time. America has sent approximately $37 million to the Philippines according to Fox News which is a great start indeed. The clothes keep on coming, though.

The cleanup process is going to be a long, hard road in the months or even years to come.

It will be much worse for everyone in that country if we keep sending more stuff that will hinder the cleanup process.

It is in our nature to be giving human beings. We need to be smarter about it, however. If your conscience tells you to help the Philippines, think twice about giving little Timmy’s old rain boots and those three heavy blankets.

Whip out your wallet and call the Philippine Red Cross instead.