COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - If you donated to Haiti after the earthquake, you may want to check the organization you worked with. New reports show supplies are getting stuck in Haitian customs.
CNN's recent reports from Haiti have shown everything from ambulances to pounds of food left in customs for weeks, even months, without being delivered to those in desperate need of supplies.
"We talked about that scene, the warehouse with all the food," Elizabeth Davison with Naples based organization Hope for Haiti says. She and others in her office were shocked when they saw CNN's reports of supplies wasting away, because of reported customs issues.
What's more, Davison says it's unnecessary for supplies to be stuck in customs, "we bring supplies, and we go through customs, and we don't have a problem."
Hope for Haiti has been sending goods to the country for the last 20 years. Since the earthquake, they've sent more than $30 million in supplies. But, it's not easy, even for an established organization.
"I understand why people have a hard time, it's very very expensive to ship to Haiti. And it's probably our largest budget item, is raising money just to ship items," Davison explains.
Hope for Haiti uses a freight company that ships items with all paperwork and customs costs built in. One pallet of goods costs upwards of $600 to ship.
Davison tries to put the cost into perspective, "if you send 20 pallets in a week, that's $12,000."
She believes some charity groups jumped in to help earthquake victims without knowing the country well. They may have the best intentions, but overlooked the cost and other red tape.
"Whatever the government is, or isn't, we have to play by the rules."
Hope for Haiti has taken donated items from other organizations that couldn't afford the costs to ship them.
Davison says it's important to research who you donate to, and it's best to work with an established organization.