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Demos Dish: Helping Haiti

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The Alternate Side told you last week about Arcade Fire's request for fans to donate to the Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Band members Wyn Butler and his wife Régine Chassagne suggest making donations to the Partners In Health. You may remember, the band’s love for the nation is heard on Arcade Fire’s 2004 album Funeral on the song “Haiti” which talks about the war-ridden country. Régine's family is from Haiti.

Wyclef Jean has his organization Yéle Haiti. The former member of The Fugees has managed to raise $2 million in donations to help Haiti's citizens. The rapper’s appearance on CNN helped prompt people to contribute a $5 donation by texting YELE to 501501. He's had a little bad press about the charity, which he's fighting, but the rapper is looking to raise a million dollars a day in an effort to help his homeland as much as possible.

If you don't have money to spare you could volunteer your time at the American Red Cross. You can use your skills to raise money or even throw a charity party where you work. Over the weekend, magician David Blaine spent 72 hours straight performing magic in the heart of New York's Times Square. As he wowed the crowd, donations were collected and every cent contributed will go towards the humanitarian efforts in Haiti. Even if you didn't see David perform, you can still donate through DavidBlaine.com.

George Clooney and MTV have teamed up for the "Hope For Haiti" telethon this Friday to raise money and support for the embattled country. The earthquake relief global telethon will air at 8 PM Eastern on MTV, VH1, CMT, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, THE CW, and HBO. Clooney will man the Los Angeles broadcast, Wyclef Jean is hosting the New York City event and CNN host Anderson Cooper will appear from Haiti. Donations from the telethon will go directly to Oxfam America, Partners in Heath, Red Cross, UNICEF and the Yéle Haiti Foundation. The impressive list of musicians, actors and actresses who will take part include Bono, Justin Timberlake, Sting, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.

Maybe you donated $10 to Haiti rescue relief through your cell phone carrier or went online and donated through Paypal. Possibly, you won't go out for a big dinner next weekend to make up for the money you've donated. But we're all trying to do our part. We're all doing what makes sense for our budgets. Be a proud philanthropist!

Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt have pledged $1 million to help Haiti. 'Brangelina' may have a huge budget, but hearts to match! The celebrity couple will raise the money through the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to benefit the emergency medical operations of Doctors Without Borders. Jolie says on the charity's website that “it is incredibly horrible to see a catastrophe of this size hit a people who have been suffering from extreme poverty, violence and unrest for so many decades.”

Going back to Arcade Fire, Régine Chassagne put it well in a response she wrote for The Observer on Sunday, saying that "somewhere in my heart, it's the end of the world:"

"Ultimately, we need to treat Haiti with compassion and respect and make sure that the country gets back on its feet once and for all. Haiti's independence from France more than two centuries ago should be thought of as one of the most remarkable tales of freedom; instead, she was brought to her knees by the French and forced to pay a debt for the value of the lost colony (including the value of the slaves: the equivalent of $21bn by current calculations). We cannot overestimate the strength and resilience of the brave people living in this country whose ancestors had to buy their own bodies back. The west has funded truly corrupt governments in the past. Right now, in Haiti, there is a democratically elected government. Impossibly weak, but standing.

"This is the moment where we need to show our best support and solidarity. Since Haiti shook and crumbled, I feel as if something has collapsed over my head, too. Miles away, somehow, I'm trapped in this nightmare. My heart is crushed. I've been thinking about nothing else. Time has stopped – but time is of the essence. So I've been sitting here at my computer, food in the fridge, hot water in the tap, a nice comfy bed waiting for me at some point… but… Somewhere in my heart, it's the end of the world."

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Don't fall for scams! Please know who you're donating to. WFUV has provided a sample list of charities that are offering help in Haiti. If you are uncertain about an organization's legitimacy, you can research the organization before making your donation, by way of sites such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator.

The United Nations' World Food Program is currently sending food assistance to the island, already distributing more that 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have pledged $100 million each to the cause that the New York Times says will likely go to longer-term reconstruction.

UNICEF has deployed "essential aid" like water and sanitary supplies, while the American Red Cross says that in the days ahead, they'll provide supplies for temporary shelters in Haiti.

Direct Relief International has committed to $1 million in aid and have already sent $420,000 worth of medicine, supplies and food to Partners In Health and St. Damien's Children's Hospital near Port-au-Prince.

If you or someone you know has family or loved ones in Haiti, call the State Department's Operations Center at 1-888-407-4747.

(photo courtesy of Doctors Without Borders)