Saturday, January 23, 2010


Well, Haiti is certainly the hottest topic in the media right now, so I won't go on ad infinitum about the devastation there. I will share some of my own thoughts on this devastation though, and maybe hopefully point someone in a new direction to help. It is heartbreaking to see the vastness of the impact of this earthquake in such a small, already fragile country. I hope and pray that the many families affected are getting the aid they need right now as effectively and efficiently as is possible.

Seeing these images, I cannot help but be reminded of my time on the MS Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and I only wish I were able to help as directly as I could when tragedy struck the Gulf. Ha, I wish I could run around Haiti to show my support in lieu of running 51 marathons. Of course, my life was in a different place then, and while I can't go to Haiti and set up a relief operation like in Bay St. Louis, I hopefully can help in a small way by offering at least a little bit of direction. The many aid organizations active in Haiti now are working in high gear to triage the situation, and their greatest need is certainly financial. Secondly, the need is for skilled volunteers (specifically at this point the need is for medical help). I was thrilled to learn that my brother (an orthopedic surgeon) is headed to Haiti to help directly. Although helping directly would be incredible, I know that right now the best help I can be is to contribute financially what I can to the efforts already in place.

It's exciting to see the swell of support not only from our country but also from around the world. For example, I read that even the financially devastated African country of Liberia has donated $50,000 in aid. Amazing.

Another interesting connection for me between this devastation and the time I spent on the Gulf Coast leading aid efforts is the resiliency of the people. The Haitian people have had a strong influence on the culture of New Orleans, and it's wonderful to see the similarities. The stories of new communities banding together to help each other in Haiti are wonderful, and pictures of impromptu groups singing praise songs and banding together for support are amazing. Haiti will need help rebuilding for many years to come, and I only hope we are able to keep their people in our hearts and minds as the months pass, but the needs continue.

Here are a few great organizations working in Haiti if you're looking for some ideas;

Please feel free to share any other organizations you may be aware of or other ideas/thoughts. Let's all do our part to help!


Will Thomas said...

This is great Sam! It was your help on the Gulf Coast that 1st introduced me to the sport of ultra-running. So keep up the efforts as you never know who or how you will touch someone's life.

Like you, I can't drop everything and go to Haiti, so I decided to take a Saturday and get trained and certified by the Red Cross in Emergency Response. It's the little things by everyone that make the big difference in the end.

Sam said...

Thanks for the really nice note Will, and thanks a bunch for sharing your Red Cross idea- that sounds super cool!

Definitely true that everyone doing their small part ends up making a big difference ultimately. In MS it was sometimes overwhelming how much need there was but we tried to focus on the progress we made (like, well this person has a roof over their heads now, this person has walls, etc.).

If other folks in Seattle want to check out getting trained at Red Cross, go here;

Or find your local Red Cross here;

Kire said...

I donated to a great organization called Partners in Health! You can check out their website and support their amazing work at (it will currently take you their specific site for supporting their efforts in Haiti at

Kire said...
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Sam said...

Super cool- thanks for sharing, Kire! Yeah, PIH looks like a great organization as well, especially since they've been on the ground in Haiti operating for so long prior to this earthquake. Great organization!