- Angelina Jolie is in Haiti touring hospitals and meeting with UN officials — PopSugar
- Nuns talk sex with Oprah — New York Times
- Tiger Wood's "friend" Rachel Uchitel lands TV gig — New York Post
- US Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn could make a good triumph story — DoubleX
- Channing Tatum shows off stripper moves — People
If the news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and relief efforts like the star-studded telethon that raised $57 million last week have inspired you to contribute a donation you're in for a handy tax treat. You can claim your donation as a tax deduction on your 2009 return. Consumer Reports advises:
To qualify, the donations must be monetary—not sold securities or used clothing, for instance — and must be to a qualifying domestic charity that is assisting Haiti. In a nod to the wave of text donations that has led to record giving, the bill allows taxpayers to use their mobile — phone bills to substantiate donations. The bill must show the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount.
Donations must be made after January 11 and before March 1, 2010 on your 2009 tax returns. You will also be able to deduct the donations from your 2010 return.
But breastfeeding advocates and disaster response experts are sending a different message – send money, not food. As new mamas can attest, formula (in particular powder formula) feeding requires clean water for both food preparation and bottle cleaning. Given the current state of the Haitian water supply, and the lack of access to electricity to boil the water that does exist, formula feeding may be more harmful to Haitian babies than expected, risking contamination, infection, diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition and death.
Though US milk banks are collecting pumped breast milk for eventual distribution in Haiti, experts agree that sending money rather than milk, will allow relief agencies to provide mothers and wet nurses with the food and water they need to continue nursing babies, rather than having to provide them with unsafe bottles.
Have you donated to the Haiti relief efforts? If so, how?
The devastation is unthinkable, and yet countless children are living through it right now. The catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti this week has left children and families without life's basic necessities. As parents, we try to provide our children with comfort and calm, but in the wake of disaster, there is no norm for the littlest survivors.
Since 1985, Save the Children has worked with Haitian residents to provide emergency relief and assistance to children and families in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. Though their Port-au-Prince offices were damaged, the agency is stepping up its lifesaving efforts by distributing hygiene and family kits to the victims. The kits include soap, towels, toothbrushes, mosquito nets, Jerry cans for water, and the like. The Save the Children volunteers are also working tirelessly to establish shelters that will provide child-friendly spaces for lil ones to play and recover.
Children are the most vulnerable victims of natural disasters, due to the possibility of being separated from their families. Through outreach efforts such as those by Save the Children and the American Red Cross, there is an opportunity to help.
Do you plan to donate time or money to the Haitian relief efforts?
Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake on Tuesday, and officials are still picking up the pieces and assessing the damage. Governments and aid agencies from around the world are rushing to help the country and its people, but help isn’t limited to organizations — tons of individuals are also doing their part by making contributions to the Red Cross, UNICEF, and other agencies.
It’s easier than ever to donate to these types of agencies — both the State Department and rapper/activist Wyclef are accepting donations via text message, with the contribution added to your cell phone bill — but is it something you make a habit of?