Being part of the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina, I learned many valuable lessons. One of the most important, for me, was to be flexible enough to ensure we met the immediate and pressing needs of the people. For example, there is no need to send toothbrushes if people don't have enough water to drink. We would feel good about ourselves by helping, but completely miss the need.
What we have implemented, to assess the specific needs is to have trained and skilled people who assess the needs on the ground in Haiti and communicate back to us. Here is the need: Rainy season is coming in two weeks and there are tens of thousands of people without ANY SHELTER AT ALL. They are sleeping on the open ground in refugee camps and other areas.
We need as many tarps-plastic, vinyl, and tents as we can get to be brought to the church on Sunday. Note: Don't buy one tent which will house one family when you could buy 4 durable, water proof tarps which will house four families. However, if you have a tent to donate, bring that too.
Lastly, we have teams going every Friday with churches we are in relationship with. If you feel called by God to go, the cost will be around $1,000 which will pay for your airfare and ground-costs for a week.
This is a real, tangible, and easy way for us to be "a healing place for a hurting world" for our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Let's shine the love of Christ over this nation.