Salvation Army taking text donations for Haiti

Canadians looking to donate money to earthquake disaster relief in Haiti through text messages can do so via the Salvation Army.
An injured child receives medical treatment after the earthquake hit Port-au-Prince. ((Eduardo Munoz/Reuters))

Canadians looking to donate money to earthquake disaster relief in Haiti through text messages can do so via the Salvation Army.

Cellphone users can send donations of $5 by texting the word "Haiti" to 45678 through a system set up by the Mobile Giving Foundation, a group that enables charities to collect money by text messages.

The Salvation Army is a member of the group, as are several other charities including the Children's Wish Foundation and Princess Margaret Hospital.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the cellphone industry's trade group, 100 per cent of all donations that go through Mobile Giving are forwarded to their respective charities.

Cellphone users are charged the amount of their donation on their next cellphone bill. There are no additional or ancillary charges, CWTA spokesman Marc Choma said, but standard text messaging rates apply.

How to help

To help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, here's a list of organizations accepting donations.

Some other text-donation options circulating online, however, are not available to Canadians. One option, where texting the word "Haiti" to 90999 results in a $10 donation to the Red Cross and a matching fee being applied to the user's cellphone bill, only works in the United States, Twitter users reported.

The Canadian Red Cross confirmed that it could not take text donations but added that people could donate online or by phone call, although its website is experiencing technical problems.

"We would love to launch the [text] campaign and it may be something that we roll out in the next couple of days but right now we don’t have one," said spokesperson Katie Kallio.

Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean, through his Twitter account, also urged people to donate to his charity  through text messages. A spokesperson for Sony Music Entertainment Canada confirmed that the text option is not open to Canadians, but they can still donate through the Yele website.

Rogers, which is taking part in the Salvation Army campaign, said it is also offering a separate donation option for its customers. Rogers wireless subscribers can text the word "Help" to 1291 to donate $5 to Haitian relief efforts. One-hundred per cent of the donation will go to Partners in Health: Haiti and other relief organizations, the company said.

Bell and Telus said they are taking part in the Salvation Army campaign, although Telus warned that its system will not be up and running until Friday. A spokesman for the company said Telus was in the midst of setting up its system when the earthquake struck.

All three companies also announced they were making their own donations. Rogers is donating $250,000 in funds and goods, with Bell and Telus providing $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.