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Dustin LindenSmith

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preliminary research on donating material goods to Pakistan relief effort

So, it would seem that this is just not done. Not in Canada, anyway. I phoned several of the major charitable organizations to inquire about it, and none of them accept in-kind donations of any kind. On the Reuters AlertNet website, this article about post-disaster myths provides a few examples of why in-kind contributions are not as helpful as cash. After speaking with an official at CIDA, a federal government agency dealing with humanitarian relief, I learned that the costs involved for storing and shipping in-kind contributions is very high, and most organizations don't want to deal with the hassle. So since it appears that giving money is the best way to help at the moment, we donated $100 this afternoon. And as with the 2004 tsunami, the Canadian government is also matching all donations made until Oct. 26th. In the meantime, more information and links are below, and this CBC piece covers Kofi Annan's appeal for increased aid.

Oxfam Canada (Pakistan relief effort | donations)
Multiple aid flights via plane and helicopter currently underway to affected areas; Oxfam also to take over production of a tent-making factory in Lahore. No in-kind donations of any material goods are currently accepted.

CARE Canada (Pakistan relief effort | donations)
In conjunction with the federal government's Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA's earthquake effort), CARE is focusing on providing shelter, blankets and emergency supplies to the affected areas. No in-kind donations of any material goods are currently accepted.

WorldVision Canada (Pakistan relief effort | donations)
Also in conjunction with CIDA, WorldVision is focusing shelter, blankets and emergency supplies. No in-kind donations of any material goods are currently accepted.

UNICEF Canada (Pakistan relief efforts | donations)
Various child-focused efforts have been underway through UNICEF since the outset.

Canadian Red Cross (Pakistan relief effort | donations)
Their most recent press release describes a single Red Cross worker leaving Oct 14th to carry out a 2-week assessment mission in Pakistan,, but I assume that more efforts than that are being made. The Red Cross also discourages in-kind donations explicitly on their website:
In-kind donations of food, clothing and other items, while well-intentioned, are not the best way to help those in need. There are tremendous processing and transportation costs involved in shipping these items to beneficiaries. Local purchases of food and clothing are more culturally appropriate and effective. Red Cross supplies can be purchased in the immediate area, thereby reducing transportation costs. Cash transfers to the affected region provide the optimum flexibility to our Red Cross colleagues so they can meet the most urgent needs.
Embassy of Pakistan in the US (how to support the affected | direct donations to Pakistani government)

Hidaya Organization (website | in-kind donation instructions)
This California-based organization is setting up container shipments to Pakistan and they ARE accepting in-kind donations, but they're nearly only ones I can find who are.

Human Development Foundation (donations)
This Illinois-based org may also accept in-kind donations, but I haven't called them yet to ask about it.

InterAction (Pakistan relief efforts | guide to giving | making material donations)
I just found this organization at the end of my search and don't have time to look into it further, but it might be helpful too.

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grammardog October 20th, 2005
Thanks for posting these links. I definitely agree that after one disaster, people have had their fill and don't make it their concern anymore. If only the people affected could do the same.

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