Five Years for Haiti and a Seed of Hope

On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, taking the lives of an estimated 300,000 people, leaving 1.5 million homeless, and destruction and debris in its wake. Five years later, we reflect on the unfathomable number of lives lost on this tragic day and on a country still working daily to rebound from this disaster.

The milestone of the Haitian earthquake means something a little different to us at YouGiveGoods. The impact of the event and the witnessing of difficulty on such a scale, laid the seeds for the idea that, a year later, would become a means to help charities and the wider community.

In 2010, seeing the devastation in Haiti and moved to help, our founder and president, Lisa Tomasi, like so many others, set out to deliver aid. Given the scope of the disaster and resources needed for recovery, there was an international push to donate funds to networks of agencies and charities.

However, in seeing the dizzying array of organizations involved in Haitian aid and the struggles of the Haitian government with coordination, Lisa questioned the effectiveness of a monetary donation. Instead, she turned her efforts to the donation of items, to put tangible, necessary goods in the hands of those who needed them most in Haiti.

But she found the donation of goods to Haiti to be an arduous task. Upon further research, she was surprised to discover that the donation of goods to the needy within the United States proved to be a difficult process as well. Lisa and her husband, Paul, put their heads together to solve this logistical problem.

A year later, YouGiveGoods.com was created: a platform for those to run drives and crowdfund food and supplies to benefit charities; a way for people to tangibly build up the very institutions that are so crucial to any community.

The Tomasis believe that while many people may hesitate with monetary donations, there is a comfort in knowing exactly what one’s giving. YouGiveGoods’ role is to help community members efficiently provide tangible assistance to charities; and in doing so, to help the needy gain a footing in their lives with necessary items.

As we somberly reflect on the tragedy of January 12, 2010 and keep those lost in our hearts, we are also inspired to celebrate the human spirit that calls so many of us to help our fellow man in times of need.

We are in awe of Haiti’s resilient spirit, and of those who have worked to rebuild their families, their communities, and their country over the past five years. And through our work, we look forward, along with so many others, to a brighter future.

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