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A helping hand in Haiti

Much has been said about the humanitarian effort to help the Haitians, suffering in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that ravaged their island country earlier this month.

Most of you have probably already selected your own individual way of contributing to the cause, but for those of you who haven't and are looking for a reliable, sound organization to make sure your contribution arrives at a destination where it will benefit the survivors, Lions Clubs across North Dakota are raising funds as part of an international effort led by Lions Clubs International (LCI).

Funds are being collected on the local level here in West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead that will be funneled to the international Lions Clubs affiliate to help provide for the immediate needs of victims. The really heartening aspect of this endeavor is that LCIF gives every cent of every dollar collected to support these humanitarian projects.

Lions Clubs International, the largest service organization in the world, is well known for prompt and efficient responses to disasters. LCIF, the charitable arm of LCI, is in contact with Lions leadership in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to assess the situation and determine immediate needs and how Lions and LCIF can best assist. As with past disasters, immediately after the earthquake, Lions worldwide pledged nearly $250,000 to begin the flow of relief supplies to those in need.

Established in 1968, LCIF recently was ranked by a Financial Times study as the #1 non-governmental organization with which to partner. The foundation has a history of recognition for its effectiveness and efficiency in order to maximize humanitarian service to those in need. In the chaos following the South Asia tsunami disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and the China earthquake, LCIF provided more than $23 million as a result of Lions' worldwide generous contributions to provide financial assistance to help get supplies, food and water for victims.

In eastern North Dakota, LCIF provided relief funds to support relief efforts following the tornado in Northwood, and the 1997, 2003 and 2009 floods in the Red River Valley.

Now in 2010, the group is committed to providing assistance to the Haitian people, devastated by a natural disaster of gigantic magnitude.

On that note, those wishing to donate to the Haiti relief effort through LCIF are encouraged to contact a member of their local Lions Club, the West Fargo Lions president is John Stuber, or the LCIF representative for eastern North Dakota, Robert Littlefield at or 701-231-7783. Funds should be designated for the "LCIF Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund."