Locals work to help Haiti after quakeMore than a month after a series of earthquakes devastated the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, killing hundreds of thousands and leaving much of the capital city in ruins, area donations are still steady for Haiti relief.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
More than a month after a series of earthquakes devastated the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, killing hundreds of thousands and leaving much of the capital city in ruins, area donations are still steady for Haiti relief.
The Red Cross is one of many international organizations providing immediate relief, said Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
“The need is there, if you look at the number of people affected,” Dewald said. “There’s no safe structures, the hospitals were damaged, homes damaged, the media coverage of those people speaks volumes.”
The Red Cross is currently providing mosquito nets, medical care and supplies, immunizations, tents water and other supplies, she said.
“There are a lot of different things, even $10 makes a difference,” Dewald said.
A $10 donation would provide a first aid kit equipped with enough ointment and bandages to treat 15-20 people or two water cans to store clean water.
To date locally, $6,000 has been donated to the Red Cross, not counting electronic donations or donations made by text message, she said.
“What’s awesome is it’s a total cross section of people,” Dewald said.
Because the Red Cross was already established in Haiti before the tremors, no money is spent establishing a group and the organization has increased buying power, she said.
Red Cross organizations from different countries each have a specialty, for example Columbia and Mexico specialize in search and rescue, the Netherlands have mobile hospitals and the U.S. specializes in water purification. Currently 1.2 million liters of water is produced each day.
Donations to the Red Cross have come from companies and individuals. One group that recently donated was students at Jamestown College.
“I think it’s important that we all pitch in when disaster happens,” said Anna Schimmelpsennig, a junior at Jamestown College.
Haiti relief is a service project that is part of her character in leadership class, Schimmelpsennig said.
The students had a coin drive and raised $300 and will be selling red give-hope bracelets in the upcoming weeks with all funds going to the Red Cross, she said.
To purchase a bracelet for $2, e-mail Schimmelpsennig at aschimme@ jc.edu.
Local churches have also been in on the act of donations.
Collections raised at Victory Lutheran will go to crossworld.org, to support missionary work, said the Rev. Shawn Bowman.
“The most important needs are where these funds will go,” Bowman said.
Bowman doesn’t have an exact amount for the funds raised but estimates his congregation raised between $2,000 and $4,000.
“It’s what the church should be doing,” he said.
The St. James Basilica has raised more than $11,000 after numerous collections for Haiti relief, said the Rev. Al Bitz.
The funds are going to Catholic Relief Services and Bitz said some of the work it does is providing 5-gallon buckets filled with food.
“It’s a great joy to see the passion and outreach,” he said.
To donate to the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Mobile donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 to make a $10 contribution.
A Haiti benefit dinner is also set from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 21 at Medina (N.D.) Public School. Pre-school and younger are free, kindergarten through sixth grade is $3.50 and seventh grade through adult is $5.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by e-mail at email@example.com