"There are some critics who argue that all foreign aid — whether from individuals or nonprofits or governments — is keeping Africa back. A vast body of research shows that foreign aid has done little to spur economic growth in Africa — and may have actually slowed it down. 'The long-term solution is not aid. It may seem cruel that aid should stop, but really it should,' says Rasna Warah, a Kenyan newspaper columnist and editor of the anthology Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits, a call to arms against aid. 'Africa is the greatest dumping ground on the planet. Everything is dumped here. The sad part is that African governments don't say no — in fact, they say, 'Please send us more.' They're abdicating responsibility for their own citizens.'"
While this is talking about Africa, clearly it also impacts Haiti and thus to answer the questions that will arise...we are only sending a few that will be generally distributed.
The school supplies, food, and soccer balls are being shipped to schools and orphanages which should dampen their negative impacts on the economy since these are groups that can not afford it any other way. It is not a question of buy or not buy, but of buy or go without.