Do you want to REALLY help the folks in Japan?

…then enough of this “pray for Japan” stuff that I’m seeing all over Twitter and Facebook!

But whatever, go on and do it if it makes you feel good, but if you really want to make a difference, might I suggest the following productive “earthly” ways that you can help out.

  • If you are a business owner, consider showing some leadership and raise funds in some manner. A donation box on the counter with proceeds going to The Red Cross or some other organization would be a start. Good to see that some businesses in Ottawa are stepping up to the plate!
  • If you live in a medium or larger city, there must be a Japanese-Canadian (or American, or Danish, or whatever the suffix) community association. Call them up. Send them an email. Ask what you can do to help.
  • At your place of employment – take up a collection and fire it off to one of the charitable organizations that are helping out during this disaster. Here is a partial list:

Humanitarian Coalition

Under the banner of the Humanitarian Coalition, four aid agencies — CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec and Save the Children Canada — have joined together to raise funds for Japan relief operations.

Phone: 1-800-464-9154

Website: www.together.ca

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is also encouraging Canadians to support relief, evacuation and emergency response efforts with donations to its Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami fund. Wireless users can text ASIA to 30333 to donate $5 to relief efforts.

Phone: 1-800-418-1111

Website: www.redcross.ca

Doctors Without Borders

Medical and logistics teams from Doctors Without Borders were racing to the worst-hit areas in Japan’s Iwate and Miyagi prefectures by helicopter, as roads are blocked by flooding. The organization relies mainly on donations to support field operations for medical assistance.

Phone: 1-800-982-7903

Website: www.msf.ca

But watch out for scammers! Human tragedies like these often bring the scum out of the pond!

People who want to donate to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief effort should watch for phony websites and spam email boxes created by fraudsters, Edmonton RCMP warned Tuesday.

RCMP said anyone who wishes to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami should donate to reputable humanitarian organizations with a record of providing disaster relief.

They warn people not to respond to direct email solicitations or click on links inside the message or other website.

People should write cheques directly only to the charity and not hand over cash to a courier, police said.

RCMP also said donors should find out how the donation will be used, and be wary of anyone who says 100 per cent of the money will go to victims.

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