Travel Tips

Helping Haiti: A Guide To Helping Haitians

Locations in this article:  Atlanta, GA Denver, CO Fort Lauderdale, FL London, England Miami, FL Orlando, FL Paris, France

Haitian flagHelping Haiti has been on everyone’s minds in the wake of a destructive earthquake that rocked the country Tuesday. presents a guide to helping Haitians, with the best and most effective ways you can contribute immediately. Monetary donations are the best way to contribute, bu you’ll need to beware of Haiti earthquake relief scams. Many organizations are not seeking material items, like clothes or food, or volunteers at this stage.

Keep reading to find out what the travel industry and other organizations are doing to aid in the relief efforts, as well as what you should watch out for to make sure your money ends up in good hands.

The travel industry is pitching in and making it easy for travelers to donate their frequent-flier miles and rewards points to charities and relief efforts.

Airline Ambassadors is currently one of the only NGOs with logistics on the ground and funding for fuel. They have 80,000 pounds of tents, blankets, water filtration, “meals ready to eat,” and other emergency supplies in Denver. They are currently talking with United, JetBlue, Southwest and American about getting flights to Haiti. Airline Ambassadors works with Southcom (Southern Command US Army) on the ground to meet flights and get the supplies to the right place. AAI has pledged to donate one-fourth of the cost for fuel and its airline partners will contribute three-fourths of the cost. You can donate online at

Get the latest updates on the situation with Haiti Earthquake: Breaking News Updates & Donation Resources.

Haiti mapAmerican Airlines and American Eagle have already started sending aid into Haiti to provide relief for its more than 100 employees who work at Toussaint Louverture International Airport and for assistance at local hospitals in Port-au-Prince. Three American Eagle aircraft arrived in Port-au-Prince Wednesday providing 30,000 pounds of supplies, including water, food and other non-perishable goods. Relief missions each day are planned for Thursday and Friday.

However, the military is limiting flights in and out due to congestion in the air and on the ground. The planned first humanitarian flight made it in Thursday morning, but they are delaying the second until given permission to go in. The planned third flight on Thursday has been canceled because of the delays.

Starting on January 14, AAdvantage members can earn a one-time award of 250 bonus AAdvantage miles for a minimum donation of $50 or 500 bonus miles for a donation of $100 or more to the American Red Cross through Feb. 28, 2010. Check starting January 15, for details.

Watch out for scams: Haiti Disaster Scam Warnings.

Even though Continental Airlines does not have scheduled service to Haiti, the carrier has offered the service of its fleet for relief flights.

Continental, Delta Airlines, US Airways, and United Airlines have all said that travelers can donate their frequent-flier miles to the American Red Cross.

United old school logoUnited is matching up to $50,000 to the Red Cross for monetary donations that United customers and employees make to the organization through its International Response Fund.

Virgin Atlantic is flying aid along with medical personnel, aid
agency workers and rescue teams on a number of flights to Miami, Orlando and Jamaica over the coming days. From there
the aid agencies will arrange for the essential supplies to be transferred to
Haiti.  The airline has already committed to flying a minimum of 55 tons of
cargo. Amongst the aid being flown to the region are hundreds of ShelterBoxes, each one containing a disaster relief tent for up to 10 people, a stove, blankets and other items essential for survival.

JetBlue is in contact with multiple non-profit organizations and officials that are working in tandem with the Haitian Consulate, including the Red Cross and the Give Them a Hand Foundation. They operate nonstop flights to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from New York’s JFK, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and San Juan and will utilize open seats on these existing flights as well as assess the need for additional charter flights if needed, vetted through the Haitian consulate.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have stated that they would be willing to take relief workers to Haiti as soon as possible, but have not yet responded to calls from

Spirit will give 5,000 free miles to the first 200,000 people who donate at least $5 to UNICEF, The Red Cross, or Yéle Haiti. You must be a member of its frequent-flier program and register online to donate by January 17.

Southwest Airlines does not fly to Haiti, but has partnered with the Red Cross and sent out a message to its 35,000 employees encourage them to donate.

To learn more about the relief efforts, don’t miss How to Help Haiti: Volunteer Opportunities and Global Relief Efforts

A number of hotels are also making it possible for people to donate their rewards points to the Red Cross.

Hilton HHonors has partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. For every 10,000 HHonors points, they’ll donate $25.

Haiti earthquakeWith Starwood Hotels, donating 4,000 points is the equivalent to a $50 donation, 8,000 points is $100, 12,000 points is $150, and 16,000 points is $200.

With Marriott Hotels, giving 18,000 points is the same as a $50 donation, 33,000 points is $100, 60,000 points is $250, and 180,000 points is $1,000.

Choice Hotels loyalty program members can donate their points to a variety of charities, including the Red Cross.


Whenever disaster strikes, scammers prey on the noble urges of those who want to help. Email scams are already prevalent. One such scam claimed to be from the British Red Cross and even used the organization’s real address in London. But the contact e-mail was incorrect and the organization doesn’t collect using the Western Union money transfer service.

Twitter logoThe Internet has also been a breeding ground for false rumors. For example, someone spread a hoax on Twitter yesterday that various airlines would fly doctors and nurses to Haiti for free to aid in relief efforts.

Word also got out that UPS would ship any package under 50 pounds to Haiti free of charge–another hoax. Due to the conditions of roads and communications networks in Haiti, UPS has had to put shipping services to the country on hold.

To find out if the charity you’re thinking of donating to is worthwhile, check out for reviews on these organizations. They also offer Tips for Giving During a Crisis.

Get more help to avoid scams: Haiti Disaster Scam Warnings

The following is a list of reputable organizations that you can contact for donations:

Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger has mobilized an emergency response. ACF teams on the ground have begun to carry out rapid evaluations across the city, while additional support, equipment, and materials–including water treatment supplies, emergency vehicles, and communications equipment–are en route from ACF’s bases in Gonaives. In addition, a team has been mobilized to arrive with an initial planeload of emergency stocks from its staging grounds in Paris to supplement efforts on the ground.
Donation Phone: 877-777-1420
Donation Address:  247 W 37th Street 10th Floor, New York, NY, 10018
Web site:

Haitian boyActionAid
ActionAid asks for donations for its relief efforts. ActionAid has been working in Haiti since 1996 and is deploying an emergency team to deliver clean water, shelter and goods like blankets and soap. Though communications were initially cut off by the quake, ActionAid’s Haiti Representative Jean-Claude Fignole sent out a desperate plea early this morning: “Send as much as you can, as quickly as you can.” The scale of devastation completely overwhelms all available resources. Tens of thousands of people urgently need immediate help.
Donation Phone: 800-957-1768
Donation Address: 1420 K Street NW Suite 900, Washington, DC, 20005
Web site:

Air Serve International
Air Serve International is coordinating and assisting with small aircraft and crews for immediate deployment in support of the Haiti earthquake response. Charter flights to/from Haiti for people and supplies, dedicated aircraft for short term or open ended in-country use.
Donation Phone: 866-428-2323
Donation Address: 410 Rosedale Court Suite 190, Warrenton, VA 20186
Web site:

Red Cross LogoAmerican Red Cross
The American Red Cross is helping meet urgent needs for survivors of the recent earthquakes in Haiti, with more than $1 million already committed in support of response efforts. More than 20 staff members are on the ground or en route to support damage and needs assessments and distribute essential relief supplies. The American Red Cross has also made available relief supplies—hygiene kits, buckets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets—to assist up to 25,000 people. As needs are identified, the American Red Cross is prepared to mobilize additional support, including additional supplies, disaster workers or financial assistance.
Donation Phone: 1-800-RED-CROSS, or you can text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to the International Response Fund.
Donation Address: P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC, 20013
Donation Web site:

AmeriCares is mobilizing emergency disaster relief and medical aid. The organization has pledged $5 million to the people of Haiti and is working closely with in-country partners to target the most devastated regions. AmeriCares is preparing resources from its Connecticut-based warehouse for delivery to the people of Haiti immediately as the country becomes accessible.
Donation Phone: 1-800-486-4357
Donation Address: 88 Hamilton Avenue, Stamford CT, 06902
Donation Web site:

CARE has more than 100 staff members in Haiti and is deploying additional emergency personnel. Contributions will support immediate emergency operations including getting desperately needed food and water to the Haitian people. CARE has extensive experience responding to disasters of this magnitude. Many of CARE’s staff in Haiti include emergency personnel who were part of the response to the devastating Hurricane Hanna in 2008. CARE began working in Haiti in 1954 to provide relief assistance after Hurricane Hazel. Today CARE’s work in Haiti includes projects in HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, education, food security, and water and sanitation.
Donation Phone: 1-800-521-CARE
Donation Address: 151 Ellis Street, Atlanta, GA 30303
Donation Web site:

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity has been at work in Haiti for 26 years and will use its local expertise and mobile resources as part of the rebuilding efforts. Habitat has provided more than 2,000 families with housing solutions through a variety of initiatives including new home construction, progressive building, home repairs and improvements. It also builds capacity in construction skills, disaster mitigation and financial literacy, and works in coordination with community and government agencies.
Donation Phone: 1-800-422-4828
Donation Address: 121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709-3498
Donation Web site:

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.
Donation Phone: 888-392-0392
Donation Address: PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741
Donation Web Site:

CowHumane Society International
While the immediate and critical needs of the people of Haiti are met following the catastrophic earthquake, Humane Society International has offered to send veterinary experts to vaccinate, treat injuries and rescue animals affected by the disaster. Animals are an intrinsic part of the lives of millions of Haitians – both those animals on whom they depend for livelihood and those who provide comfort and emotional support. Dead and displaced animals will pose a threat to the people of Haiti and could threaten the long-term survival of its agricultural community. Addressing this need is a critical component of the disaster response.
Donation Phone: 202-452-1100
Donation Address: 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC, 20037
Donation Web site:

Save the Children
Save the Children has identified these areas of immediate priority: addressing shelter, health, water, sanitation, and child protection needs and, as conditions allow, the restoration of education for children.
Donation Phone: 1-800-728-3843
Donation Address: 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT, 06880
Donation Web site:

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army’s mission is to provide food, shelter, clothing and spiritual comfort during disasters. To donate money, go to or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Make sure you designate the donation for “Haiti Earthquake.” Money will go to the Salvation Army in Haiti, which will determine the country’s immediate needs, including water, food, medicine and transportation. You can also text the word “HAITI” to 52000 to make a $10 contribution to The Salvation Army.
Donation Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Donation Address: Please donate to your local Salvation Army, which can be found on their Web Site.
Web site:

United Way International
Gifts to the Fund support long-term recovery efforts to rebuild lives and infrastructure devastated by disaster and to address educational, financial and health-related challenges. United Way Worldwide members in the Caribbean region have mobilized their staff, volunteer leaders and resources in response.
Donation Phone: 703-836-7112
Donation Address: United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund, 701 North Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA, 22314
Web site:

Many concerned people have expressed that they are willing and able to go to Haiti to volunteer  immediately. While this is a noble and encouraging response, the best thing you can do to help right now is to donate money, miles and points.

Related Links: CNN, InterAction, Charity Navigator

By Dan Bence for Links: