Naomi Osaka pledges tournament money to Haiti quake relief

Naomi Osaka, shown during February’s Australian Open in Melbourne, pledged to donate her winnings from a recent tournament to earthquake relief in Haiti.

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Tennis star Naomi Osaka’s donation to Haiti earthquake relief sets a great example that anyone can follow. Osaka pledged, before the Western and Southern Open tournament in Cincinnati, to donate all winnings to Haiti.

She made it to the third round of the tournament and raised $50,000 after The Western Southern Financial Group matched her donation. Most important, Osaka raised awareness of the emergency in Haiti. One of the big challenges is keeping crisis areas overseas in the spotlight.

The needs are massive in Haiti following the Aug. 14 earthquake. The same area hit by the quake also was devastated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Thousands have died and many families have lost their homes. Haiti, which was already reeling from hunger and poverty, is now in desperation.

There are other countries in crisis, too. Famine is threatening Madagascar, Yemen and South Sudan. The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan is one of extreme hunger for about 14 million people. Children are perishing daily from malnutrition in these countries, yet many could be saved if the world cared more.

According to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), there are 43 countries facing extreme hunger. These nations are also battling the spread of COVID-19.

When Osaka decided to use her stardom to raise donations and awareness, it was a big help.

The U.S. Open Tennis tournament is under way, and it would be great to see some more creativity from the sports world when in comes to humanitarian aid. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and the biggest hunger crisis since the World War II era.

Anyone can create a fundraising event. Anyone can donate to WFP, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, UNICEF, and Action against Hunger, Norwegian Refuge Council, Red Cross, IRC, World Vision and many other organizations.

You can write a letter to elected officials urging them to support global humanitarian aid. If we could fully fund the WFP school meals program in Madagascar, for example, we could save kids from having to drop out and search for food. If enough people get involved, we can support these life-saving initiatives so they reach everyone.

There are other ways to contribute, such as using the online trivia game Free Rice, which raises donations for the World Food Program (WFP). The app Charity Miles also raise donations for WFP, Save the Children, Feeding America and other charities. The app Share the Meal raises donations for hunger relief.

Use your creativity and come up with a plan like Osaka did to help Haiti. That is how you can help others.

William Lambers is an author who partnered with the U.N. World Food Program on the book “Ending World Hunger.”

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