Life comes down to three items – food, water, and shelter.

And the best way for those living outside of Ecuador to get food, water, and shelter to people in need is to donate cash to organizations on the ground.

For those living in Ecuador, cash is still king for organizations that have the manpower to purchase and ship goods themselves. Cash lets the people in the know buy exactly what is needed. Cash also allows organizations to buy in bulk so that money can be used more effectively.

Let’s get down to the basics.


Waiting for Food, Puerto ViejoPlease donate funds for food to local organizations who can buy LOCAL food. The economy of Ecuador will need every penny it can collect. Local sales can help most. Ecuador has the food, it just needs to be transported to the affected areas.

One local organization able to take direct donations via PayPal is Hearts of Gold Foundation in Cuenca. The organization serves as a bridge between expat communities and local Ecuadorians and has a history of service. They have connections that make it easier for them to know where donations can best be used.

Another local organization out of Quito has been raising funds, Global Shapers Quito. They are working directly with the Red Cross of Ecuador.

And if you would prefer to trust in former Peace Corp Volunteers (not affiliated with the current Peace Corps operations), this loose organization for returned volunteers are fundraising and using the money to directly help small communities. Check out their facebook page if you want to send a check or send US Paypal Donations to Alexandra Munoz and Nikki Rowley.


Oxfam is doing everything it can to provide clean water to the coastal communities. They are also providing hygiene kits and toilet facilities. Cleanliness will help keep people alive by preventing outbreaks of disease.


Shelterbox has been my go to NGO for every disaster in the last few years. Why? Because they have designed a simple box that is easy to load onto planes in large numbers and contains the items families most need in emergencies. And they have thought about the basics – white tents that reflect heat for hot locations, basic building tools like shovels, saws, and hammers so that the job of building real structures can begin, cooking utensils so that all the arriving food can actually be cooked in a container. You can donate cash to ShelterBox and know that it will be used appropriately.

Other Organizations

The post, Best Ways to Help Ecuador, contains dozens of links or organizations both small and large, who are accepting donations. If any of the three above don’t seem like a good fit for your cash donation, then maybe one of those others will.

Spend Cash in Ecuador

We will have another post coming soon about travel in Ecuador but it is worth noting that although the coast is reeling from these earthquakes, the rest of Ecuador is open for your travel business. And although you can donate cash, you can also spend cash here in country. Visit Cuenca, Quito, Baños, Ibarra, Otavalo, Loja, and many more places without worries of getting in the way. The Galapagos is waiting for your visit!

Locals working in all of these communities still have to earn a living. The more they earn, the more taxes they pay which in turn supports the government in their earthquake response. The economic health of Ecuador requires an influx of funds and tourism is one way that can happen.