California for Haiti Raises $14K at TiGeorges, More Ways to Help

Last night, California for Haiti raised $14,000 at TiGeorges' Chicken restaurant for the relief efforts in Haiti. About 300, including plenty of local news, came out to the Echo Park eatery to raise money, donate goods, sort fact from rumor, eat chicken, watch the news, and collect contact information for those wanting to help. The turnout was so overwhelming the kitchen briefly ran out of food, but resumed after announcements until the last plate was served.

California for Haiti is a coalition of local Haitian community members, including TiGeorges LaGuerre, Martine Jean and Kassava Caribbean Restaurant. The group started at Kassava Restaurant on the West Side, after the news of the earthquake broke. Their mission is to raise money and facilitate getting help and supplies to Haiti. Their website, Californiaforhaiti.org, should be live later today. The group itself does not directly accept money but is passing 100% of the funds through to Wyclef Jean's Yele Foundation. Yele has been one of of the organizations involved in the revolutionary text-messaging donation campaign, which has reportedly raised over $10 million for the Red Cross.

Donations of the following are welcome: water, canned foods, (particularly sardines), can openers, medical supplies, shoes, and clothing. There are drop boxes for donations at both TiGeorges on the East Side and Kassava on the West Side.

The group has already secured a large amount of donated water and supplies. The most pressing problem has been coordination of transportation. There has been no way to get goods and needed people into Haiti. Commercial package delivery service DHL is a possibility, as initial attempts to use passenger airlines ran into logistical hurdles. The group also confirmed that the wireless carrier T-Mobile will waive cellular charges to Haiti through January 31, 2010.

California for Haiti's next event will take place Monday, January 18, from 6 to 9 at Kassava Caribbean restaurant on the West Side. The group is also planning an event Wednesday, January 20, at 7 p.m. at the Chateau Marmont featuring entertainers from the local Haitian community.

An additional way to get involved in the Haitian relief efforts is Crisis Camp Haiti Los Angeles happening tomorrow (Saturday, January 16) at USC Annenberg's campus near downtown LA. Crisis Camp Haiti LA will use a Barcamp-style, open-source, "unconference" format, an ad hoc gathering for hacking, and sharing skills and knowledge. Crisis Camp Haiti LA is looking for people of any background, to work on programming, geolocation, news gathering, and other coordinated ways to help locate survivors and put together the puzzle pieces of bringing Haiti back from disaster.

Get involved:

Crisis Camp Haiti LA will be Saturday, January 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at USC Annenberg School, 3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Free.

California for Haiti fundraiser, Monday, January 18, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kassava Restaurant, 8600 West 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048-3338 (near Cedars). Donations of money, clothes, water and medical supplies welcome.

Chateau Marmont benefit, Wednesday, January 20, 7 p.m. (more details t.b.a.). For more information, contact info@martinejean.com and check californiaforhaiti.org later today.

Dropboxes for donations are available at TiGeorges' Chicken, 309 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026, (213) 353-9994, and Kassava Restaurant, 8600 West 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048-3338 (near Cedars).