Haitian relief pours in

Published 11:18 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

Donations for the relief efforts in Haiti still need assistance.

The American Red Cross is nationally and locally offering fundraising efforts and Church Street United Methodist Church is collecting monetary donations to send to the Haitians.

Selma residents and churches have given about $5,000 to the relief efforts.

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“I want to applaud Selma for coming out and making a difference,” said Jakki Caldwell-Phillips, executive director The American Red Cross of Central Alabama. “We know their effort is long going, so the fundraising will be going for a long time.”

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck Jan. 12 and killed an estimated 200,000 people, according to Haitian government figures cited by the European Commission. Countless dead remained buried in thousands of collapsed and toppled buildings in Port-au-Prince, a city of slums that drew migrants from an even more destitute countryside.

“A lot of people are giving money and we want them to know what the money is going for,” Ms. Caldwell-Phillips said.

The Red Cross and more than 400 Red Cross workers from around the world, are providing basic relief items and tents for shelter to the people of Haiti.

Donations from $5 and up can make a difference. A gift of $5 will purchase a water contained to store clean drinking water for someone; $10 will provide a blanket and $25 will provide a family of five with a kitchen set with two cooking pots, a frying pan, bowls, plates, cups and utensils, allowing them to cook for themselves.

Church Street United Methodist Church has collected monetary donations as a part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, U.M.C.O.R.

“They were in Haiti working before the earthquake,” said Fred Zeigler, senior pastor at Church Street United Methodist Church.

Immediately after the earthquake, the organization sent funding, supplies and people to help.

Donations will be accepted at the church for an undetermined amount of time and 100 percent of the funds collected will be sent to Haiti.

“There’s a project need as long as people are giving,” Mr. Zeigler said.

The Methodist churches also have worked to make packages of essential disaster items.

“Part of what we do is anything that we put together goes to these holding centers and we stockpile them,” Mr. Zeigler said.

Then, in the event of a disaster, the packages are immediately sent out.

To raise funds for local disaster relief efforts, and collect separate donations for Haiti, the Red Cross will host the Mayors of the Black Belt Charity Ball on Feb. 11 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“We have disasters here every day, they’re just not as devastating,” Ms. Caldwell-Phillips said.

Local agencies need donations just as much as the other disaster relief programs. Visit the Red Cross office or call 334-874-4641 for invitations and more information.