People in Gainesville sending donations to Haiti
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The death toll in Haiti has risen to more than 900 and organizations in North Central Florida are already sending over donations after Hurricane Matthew charged through the country.
"When I first heard the news, and realized the extent of the damage I felt numb but I felt like déjà vu. This familiar feeling of oh disaster strikes Haiti again," said Pascale Belony, who works in missions in Haiti.
Some of her family still lives there. "The hurricane mainly hit the south so all of my immediate family, I've gotten to talk to them and they're doing well," said Belony.
The hurricane disaster is causing the death toll to go up, and it left the country in pieces last week. Now, the country is in need of relief and Gainesville organizations have started sending money donations, including Grace at Fort Clarke United Methodist Church.
Pastor Rick Thompson at Grace at Fort Clarke United Methodist Church said, "We have a history with helping out Haiti when the earthquake hit in 2010. We organized in this area to send supplies down."
The congregation collected more than a thousand dollars over the weekend. "We have some other dollars set there, maybe a few thousand, that we want to reserve for long term efforts so that when the next hurricane comes, some of the infrastructure can be rebuilt and it wouldn't be as devastating," Thompson said.
Both Thompson and Belony said it is important to be careful of who givers donate money to and how the organizations are using it. "A lot of aid can actually lead to long term destruction so that's when you see a cycle of oh haiti got all this money from the earthquake but nothing was done. I don't want that same cycle to repeat with Hurricane Matthew," said Belony.
She also said a nonprofit called Projects for Haiti, is planning to send a Gainesville team to Haiti. "They are going to help with relief initiatives but also establish relationships with the local churches," she said.
Thompson said, "They're in need of food and water immediately right now, so that's what we want to do."
Club Creole at the University of Florida will also be collecting hygiene products and baby supplies on campus throughout the week.
Belony said, "How powerful is the magnitude of your aid if you're not working with the people who actually need the aid?"
To donate through Grace at Fort Clarke: click here.
To donate through Projects for Haiti: click here.
Donation locations and times for Club Creole's collections are as follows:
Student Activities and Involvement Office (October 11th and 14th from 10:00am to 6:00pm)
Turlington Plaza (October 12-13th between 10:00am to 2:00pm)
Konvèsayon Kreyòl Event (October 13th, 2016 at Matherly Hall 10 from 5:30-6:30 pm)
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