It is times like this that our communities must mobilize to help others. In the wake of the devastating earthquake that has hit the island nation of Haiti, hundreds of thousands are feared dead, according to Haitian president Rene Preval. This country, about the size of Maryland, has a population of just over 9 million. This disaster will take its toll on an already-fragile populace.

As the news reports come streaming in, everyone realizes that we cannot just let this disaster go by the wayside. Groups are forming left and right to figure out ways to help. As of press time, Wyclef Jean was on his way to Haiti to help. He has been one of the greatest champions of Haiti and has used his star status to help bring economic stability and peace and to this country.

Disaster relief organizations have mounted extensive emergency measures to help in Haiti. Providing medical care, shelter and safe drinking water are some of the main needs at this moment.

New York City is home to one of the largest Haitian communities in the United States. So our prayers are not only with those who have been devastated by this terrible tragedy, but also our neighbors, our tens of thousands of Haitian neighbors in Brooklyn and Queens who may have an aunt, uncle, parents, grandparents, cousins or friends who are suffering or have died during this incalculable tragedy.

The Obama administration has pledged its unwavering support for Haiti. It is good to see the world’s richest nation willing to help a far less well-off neighbor without being badgered into offering its support.

Money is the key to helping, but be aware that at times like these there are those who may try to take advantage of the situation. If you plan to donate money, please be sure to send it to a reputable aid organization that has a track record of humanitarian service.

After my 9-year-old god daughter saw the news last night, she devised a plan because she said we “need to help the children of Haiti.” This morning as she and her brother, Jacob, went off to their respective schools, they were planning a dollar drive. What Alyssa wants is for every New York City school child to donate $1 to the Red Cross for the children of Haiti. She believes that if the kids of this city can do that, it would be a great start to helping out all the children in need.

So let’s take a page out of the mind of a 9-year-old. If each of us takes just $1, or more if you can afford it, we can help to make sure the people of Haiti have what they need to get though this devastating ordeal.

Here are several ways to help the people of Haiti:

The White House will have a listing of aid organizations on its website that you can access through the Internet.

UNICEF

www.unicef.org/haitiquake

(800) 4-UNICEF

Red Cross

www.redcross.org (click to donate)

(800) RED-CROSS

Text “HAITI” to “90999” to make a $10 donation.

Wyclef Jean’s foundation, Yele Haiti

http://www.yele.org

Text “Yele” to 501501 to make a $5 donation.