One OSU student used the power of social media to collect more than $750 in a week to help bring clean water to Haiti.
Tucker Lincecum, a junior majoring in broadcast journalism, spent March 21-27 raising money for Don’t Hate On Haiti. All-American Rejects front man, Tyson Ritter, started the Don’t Hate On Haiti charity. Lincecum invited people to a group of Facebook and sent his friends texts about the charity. On Feb. 22, Ritter announced a contest for people who donated money to Don’t Hate On Haiti that included several prizes with the grand prize being a Skype interview with the band. Ritter designed the contest to coincide with his band returning to the studio, to record a new album, for maximum exposure.
Don’t Hate On Haiti donate the money it raises to Charity:Water. Charity:Water is a nonprofit organization that builds clean water projects around the world with its current focus on building clean water wells in Haiti.
“[Ritter] started the contest and then he added some prizes for the person who donated the most money, but I wasn’t really doing it so much for the prizes,” Lincecum said. “I just wanted to help out. So I just thought I would try to help out and got some friends to donate, and I ended up raising $750 and I just sent that in on Friday to the offices in California.”
Lincecum said he was surprised at the quick response he got from people and how quickly he raised the money. Lincecum said 25 people donated money, which is an average of $30 per person.
“I had several [donations] that were 25 to 50, but I had a lot that were just smaller donations,” Lincecum said. “But everything helps, any donation is a good donation, I say. I thought people wouldn’t want to give money or they would give a dollar, which there is nothing wrong with a dollar, but I was surprised by the amount that I ended up raising.
“I sent out an event on Facebook and text some people on my phone and had a whole bunch of people say, ‘Yeah, I’ll donate’ and just started raking in the dough.”
Lincecum said it is important to remember Haiti a year later because it needs help.
“Now that everyone has moved out of Haiti and they are on to Japan and the crisis in Libya and all the other stuff that’s going on just because the media is out of Haiti doesn’t mean they don’t still need help,” Lincecum said. “They will need help for years to come on rebuilding and getting people clean water.”
Cameron Hutton, a recent graduate from OSU, donated $50 to Lincecum and said he agrees that people need continue to keep places such as Haiti in mind as more disasters happen in the future.
“If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind,” Hutton said. “Right now what’s in sight is the Japan ordeal still. Pretty soon, another earthquake is going to happen somewhere or a hurricane or a tornado or something like that and that will on the front lines.
“I think it’s still important to keep New Orleans in mind cause I was down there a couple weeks ago and it’s still not fully recovered. People need to realize that things are still going on, people are still dealing with things even though the media’s not covering it.”
Hutton said he is glad Lincecum is promoting help for Haiti because if he is reminding people about Haiti, it will stay fresh in their minds.
Kendall Slaughter, a junior majoring in forestry, said he wanted to help Haiti because he has a friend who recently returned from there.
“I have a friend who has been to Haiti before to help out after the earthquake and he is going back again,” Slaughter said. “He has kinda made sort of aware of what’s going on over there so I’ve been more focused on that then other things because he knows people over there. I’ve got a direct relation to them I guess.”
Slaughter said he knows there are people in the U.S. who are helping Haiti but said he feels like the majority of the population have focused on the most recent disaster story.
“I just want people to know that they should focus on everyone instead of the most recent occurrence,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter said he hopes to visit Haiti in the future and help bring fresh water to those who need it.
“I plan on going to Haiti in the next year or so,” Slaughter said. “I’m not really sure what I will be able to do cause I’ve never done anything like that before. I like the idea of bring water to people who need it; it seems like something I can do that is easy but very important. I want to feel like I am making a difference.”
Jessee Weavel, 24, from Broken Arrow, said donating to Don’t Hate On Haiti was her first time donating to a cause outside of the U.S.
“I do a lot of local stuff, but I’ve never done anything national,” Weavel said. “I usually give my money to the Humane Society or Women’s Benefits. It’s local, so I see it more directly but I think if it’s something you care about they only way that you are going to improve anything is by helping and donating money or donating time.
“I know Tucker so that’s why I donated money to him,” Weavel said. “Tucker explained to me how Haiti still needs help even though the news and media hadn’t been talking about it. I hadn’t really thought about that, so donating money made me feel good that I was helping people that are essentially forgotten about.”
To date, Ritter and Don’t Hate On Haiti has raised $25,000 and built five clean water wells in Haiti. It takes $5,000 to build one clean water well.
Lincecum said he wants to continue raising money for Don’t Hate on Haiti.
“Even though the contest has already ended, I would like to raise some more money later this year,” Lincecum said. “I would like to present [Ritter] personally with a check of donations. [All-American Rejects] are my favorite band and they kinda know me. I have a lot of their early EPs that they recorded while still in Stillwater. So hopefully I can see them this fall when they go back on tour and give them more donations personally.”
Lincecum’s girlfriend of three and a half years, Tavia Garrison, helped Lincecum collect donations and said she is not surprised that he is giving to others.
“He is very charitable,” Garrison said. “He will always help anybody that needs help and I think he saw this as not only an opportunity to help his favorite band out, but also help people who are in need.”
Garrison said she collected money from her family, friends, coworkers and people at her school.
“It’s pretty easy to get change from people once you explain to them how this people are in such a need of water and how it’s kind of something we take for granted every day but hey don’t have it,” Garrison said.
Garrison said she and Lincecum share the same favorite band, the All-American Rejects, and that she thinks it is honorable that Ritter is used the fact that he is a celebrity to help bring awareness and aid to Haiti.
“Since we are fans of the All-American Rejects, I thought it was cool for somebody that we kind of look up to help people who are in need for the past two years,” Garrison said. “They do have a bigger spotlight, so they have the power to help people like that. I wish more celebrities were like that. I feel like a lot celebrities are all about themselves and that is a shame.
“If everyone pitched in a little bit here and there, we could help Haiti, Japan and the next country to have a big disaster. I just don’t understand why people don’t realize that we are all in this together. I know some of the people I asked for donations said they don’t see why they should help other countries when we need help ourselves. You have to understand that by helping other countries when they are in dire straits, they will remember that help us when we need it the most.”
Ritter announced on his twitter account on April 7, that all of the contest donations were collected and raised a total of $6,200. Ritter said on his twitter that he was amazed at the response from his fans and that he was excited that the contest raised enough money to build a water well for Haiti. With the addition of the next water well, Haiti will have a total of six wells.
Anyone who would like to send donations can mail them to: Don’t Hate On Haiti, P.O. Box 4084, Santa Monica, CA, 90411.