It generally costs far more to receive, sort, package and ship used material goods (especially halfway around the world) than to buy the stuff new closer to the site where it's needed. This is especially true of used clothing and gear--close to half of it will have to be discarded, the other half will have to be laundered or otherwise sanitized, and handling it is extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming. That's why very few charities accept used material goods any more. Of course, they won't turn down medical supplies by the case.

There are several organizations that rate charities, and I strongly urge everyone to check out every charity--even the big name ones--before donating. There are some in which less than half of each donated dollar goes to the charitable cause. You want to look for organizations in which 85-90% of donated funds go to those who need them.

I donate to three Northwest-based charities with some of whose staff I'm personally familiar. Mercy Corps (already in Nepal, distributing emergency kits as fast as they can get them there), Medical Teams International, and SIGN Fracture Care International. SIGN provides simplified implants for fractured limbs that have the patient walking within a few days, and teaches local surgeons how to do the implants. They already have trained in-country associates in Nepal and expect to send more from the US, as well as the implants themselves. SIGN was founded by the Richland, WA orthopedic surgeon who put my almost completely disassembled knee back together in 1988.

Many news stories are listing charities involved in the Nepal disaster. You need to research them, both on their websites and with the charity rating organizations, and decide which you prefer. Just because I like the three I mentioned doesn't mean that you will! Please do your research!

Edited by OregonMouse (04/28/15 11:54 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey