Posted on: August 12, 2020 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 0

The tragedy of the massive explosion that rocked Beirut last week is almost too much to believe after everything Lebanon has been through for so long.

But the question of how to get aid to the Lebanese people struggling to rebuild AGAIN is a critical one. United Nations aid machinery works hand in hand with the local government, and, as a result, falls victim to the same corruption that cripples the rest of Lebanon’s operations. Indeed, the state Lebanon is in is, in large part a result of that corruption reaching into all parts of the country. So how can we be sure that aid gets to where it’s going? The question is even more pressing now as we, and much of the world, struggle with an economic crisis we haven’t seen the likes of in nearly a century. The precious funds we can still afford to give to help others must not fall into someone’s corrupt pocket.

To address this question, my colleague, Rebecca Abou-Chedid has partnered with the Center for Arab-American Philanthropy to give Americans a way to help Lebanon’s people. As Rebecca put it in her outreach letter, “They say that trauma is passed down from one generation to the next. One week ago a whole new generation of Lebanese children experienced an unbelievable trauma as the most destructive non-atomic explosion in history tore through Beirut. In an instant all of the scenes from my own childhood that I thought we had left behind were flooding my phone.

“If you are able to donate even $10, I will be eternally grateful. My goal is to reach 100,000 donors and for that I will need your help. Please share widely with your social networks and please let me know if you have any ideas on how we can get the word out or if you would like to join the campaign,” Rebecca wrote.

CAAP is a program of ACCESS, an Arab-American charitable network with a rating of 100/100 at Charity Navigator. I can personally vouch for several of the organizations that they are supporting on the ground in Lebanon as some of the best in the world at independent action focused on helping people.

I know there are reasons to be concerned about charitable donations reaching their intended recipients everywhere, and there is particularly good reason for concern about it in Lebanon. That’s why what Rebecca and CAAP are doing is so very important, giving us a way to give tax-deductible charitable donations that we can be sure are doing the work we are paying for.

CAAP describes where your funds will go:

100% of your donation will support:

  • Social and Economic Action for Lebanon is providing grants to vetted organizations in Lebanon that focus their efforts on the most pressing needs resulting from this tragedy including Al Ghina, Arcencial, Beit El Baraka, Lebanon Needs, the Lebanese Red Cross, Nusaned, and Offre Joie.
  • Direct Relief International is a humanitarian aid organization with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.  DRI is partnering with Lebanese American philanthropists to transport shipments of badly needed medicines and medical equipment to hospitals in Lebanon.
  • ANERA is providing shipments of medicines and health care supplies, as well as organizing clean-up efforts and distributing water, food, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves.
  • Basmeh & Zeitooneh provides social services to the most poorly served areas in Lebanon, including Arsal, the Bekaa Valley, Tripoli and the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut.  Donations will be used to provide shelter, food, and medication to those affected by the explosion and its repercussions.
  • Teach for Lebanon: Teach For Lebanon (TFL) is a Lebanese NGO working to ensure that all children in Lebanon, regardless of socioeconomic background, have access to quality education. In the wake of the crisis, TFL has mobilized to provide psycho-social support and support to schools directly impacted by the explosion.

Please give as generously as you can, whether what you can spare is small or large. It all matters, every single penny. It will not only help get the Lebanese people back on their feet but they will know that they are not alone as they work to finally rid their country of the effects of decade after decade of civil war, invasion, occupation, proxy wars, corruption, and strife.

I’m grateful to Rebecca for providing this way to help. Please join me in doing what you can.