Once in a great while, fierce competition gives way to collaboration in the name of compassion.
Rival stations and news outlets from across the city, including NBC 5, have come together to help the victims of the earthquake ravaged country of Haiti.
The Chicago Helps Haiti telethon started at 5 a.m. and runs until 11 p.m. Nearly every local television and radio station will be promoting the fundraiser and urging people to call (877) 565-5000 to donate.
"We are proud to join with Chicago broadcasters to help the earthquake victims in Haiti," said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5. "Today's telethon shows what a critical role the local media can play during a crisis. Our thanks to all of our viewers and on-line users who are taking the time today to help the people of Haiti."
More than 1,500 volunteers are working the phones at Hewitt Associates in Lincolnshire to raise money that will go directly to the American Red Cross Haitian relief effort.
Every little bit helps.
"The last time the Red Cross partnered with Chicago media and Hewitt was in 2004 for a one-day telethon to aid victims of the Asian tsunami. The result of that effort was extraordinary. The broadcasters in this city have a keen understanding of the difference they can make when they join forces to get the word out when a major disaster strikes, and we know this will be the case with our effort to help the people of Haiti,” said Jackie Mitchell, Director of Marketing and Communications, The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago serves more than 8.6 million people in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties through the support and generous contributions of individuals, corporations, foundations, and the United Way. For more information, call 312-729-6100 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org.
There are lots of ways to help.
- Action Against Hunger - International agency has hundreds of staffers in Haiti. Already working to distribute food and safe drinking water, build latrines and provide hygiene kits. Click or call (877) 777-1420.
- American Red Cross - Has already pledged $1 million toward relief effort. Donors can send a $10 donation by texting "Haiti" to 90999.
- American Jewish World Service - Has launched a relief fund to support a network of charities. Log on to donate as little as $36. Click or call (212) 792-2900.
- AmeriCares - Has pledged $5 million worth of aid to Haiti, and is working with partners on the island to deliver food and medical supplies. Click or call (800) 486-4357.
- Beyond Borders - Has established an Earthquake Emergency Response Fund to take donations earmarked for the most urgent needs, including food and medicine. Click or call (866) 424-8403
- CARE - Has deployed emergency teams to Port-au-Prince and will soon start distributing high protein biscuits from its warehouses in Haiti. Click or call (800) 521-2273
- Catholic Relief Services - Has committed $5 million of its funds for emergency supplies. Already has food and relief supplies on the island, and is distributing plastic shheeting, mosquito netting, and water purification tablets. Click or call (800) 736-3467
- Childcare Worldwide - Has staff inplace to distribute food, clothing, blankets and medical supplies. Click or call (800) 553-2328.
- Direct Relief International - Has shipped two containers of medical supplies and plans a $2 million aid packagePlans to airlift via FedEx this week. Click or call (805) 964-4767.
- Doctors Without Borders - Has already treated more than 1,000 victims in four tent facilities. Is working to treat severely injured people in need of surgery. Click or call (888) 392-0392.
- Feed My Starving Children - Plans to distribute high-protein meal packs to children and adults. Click or call (763) 504-2919.
- Habitat for Humanity - Working to provide temporary shelter for poor families affected by quake. Click or call (800) 422-4828.
- Haitian Health Foundation - Anticipating total depletion of their resources and taking donations and money and hoping to address anticipated flood of refugees leaving Port-au-Prince. Click or call (860) 886-4357.
- Hope for Haiti - Stands ready to send doctors, nurses, medical supplies and equipment. Click or call (239) 434-7183.
- International Medical Corps - Has representatives at Port-au-Prince's main hospital, providing medical care. Click or call (800) 481-4462.
- Medical Teams International - Initial response includes sending a six-person team with enough medicine and othopedic supplies to help 12,000 people for a week. Click or call (800) 959-4325.
- Operation USA - L.A.-based organization sending medical supplies and appealing for pledges and corporate donations of health care supplies, water purification tablets and food supplements. Click or call (800) 678-7255.
- Oxfam - Has 200 staff members in Haiti, including a 15-memmber emergency response team. Click or call (800)776-9326.
- UNICEF - Venerable agency focuses on the youngest victims, pledging that every dollar will go to aid. Click or call (800) 367-5437.
- World Concern - Soliciting cash as it helps in the rescue effort and provides drinking water, food and blankets. Click or call (800)755-5022.
- World Hope International - Waiting to move in after first responders to help battle malnutrition, exposure, disease and lack of drinking water. Click or call (888)466-4673.
The U.S. State Department Operations Center said Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call 1-888-407-4747. Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."