Good people often give in to that frustration and begin campaigns to amass goods to send to the affected people. Others figure out a way to get there in order to help directly. There are already efforts underway to collect gently used shoes and clothing for the earthquake victims.
The need is there for all these goods, but sometimes the arrangements for getting them to the disaster area and then on to the victims makes unnecessary complications for everyone.
Any plans to send goods to Haiti should go through one of the recognized, experienced aid organizations who have the disaster supply lines - the logistics - to carry out a mission successfully.
The Center for International Disaster Information offers guidelines for donating. They say that "Monetary Contributions to Established Relief Agencies are Always the Most Useful Response to Disasters." They also give guidelines for the donation of commodities (like what not to send). Finally, they say that "Volunteer Opportunities for Disaster Relief are Extremely Limited."
Canned food and bottled water may seem logical, but are inefficient. Somebody has to unload and distribute commodities, and the people already working in any disaster already have jobs to do. And the people working with relief agencies are trained; volunteers often are not and can get seriously in the way - be more of a hindrance than a help.
The Huffington Post has links for people to purchase goods for relief agencies.
How Stuff Works about the tsunami in 2004:
care packages piled up containing everything from pajamas and teddy bears to birth control pills and Bibles — a hodgepodge impossible to sort through. There were boxes filled with half-used ointments and prescription drugs, as if do-gooders had cleaned out their medicine cabinets.Remember - Money is best! (to a reputable agency - here's a link to a list of them).