Want to help Haiti?

Published 8:44 am Friday, January 15, 2010

FRANKLIN—Relief organizations around the world have mobilized to provide humanitarian aid to Haitians after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake left much of the nation, including its capital city in ruins earlier this week.

St. Jude Catholic Church in Franklin already had a link to Haiti. Along with other catholic churches in Suffolk and Smithfield, St. Jude takes up quarterly collections to send to Haiti. The Haitian churches linked to St. Jude aren’t in the hardest-hit region of the country, according to the church’s administrative assistant Mary McDaniel.

“I believe our pastors are OK,” she said. “Their concern is for the people in Port-au-Prince.” The Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince was killed in the earthquake.

McDaniel said the church is working through the Catholic Relief Services to get aid to Haiti. Donations can be made online at www.crs.org or by calling 1-800-736-3467

“Just know that those people are so grateful for our prayers and our concern,” she said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia is also working to collect funds to help provide relief in Haiti following Tuesday’s earthquake. The diocese is working through Episcopal Relief & Development, the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Donations can be made to the agency through its Web site at www.er-d.org/donate-select.php or mailed to the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, 600 Talbot Hall Road, Norfolk, Va. 23505.

“The devastating news of the quake in Haiti has affected all of us in Southern Virginia,” said the Rev. Herman Hollerith, IV, bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. “I encourage everyone to rally to help those in need. Not only is there great loss of life, but the damage and destruction will even further stress a nation that is already in the grip of tremendous poverty.”

The Rev. Ed Pickup of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Franklin sent out an e-mail to members encouraging them to consider donating to the relief efforts in Haiti.

The Red Cross is allowing cell phone users to make relief donations by text messaging “HAITI” to 90999. A $10 donation will be charged directly to users’ cell phone bills.

Both the FBI and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences have issued warnings about possible scams related to the Haitian earthquake. Officials suggests that donors give only to well-established organizations, be skeptical of individuals claiming to be surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites and avoid giving out personal or financial information.

“It’s hard for me to conceive of people trying to use this disaster to scam well-intended donors,” said VDACS Commissioner Todd P. Haymore. “But we’ve seen it time and again, after the September 11 tragedies, Hurricane Katrina and other disasters from floods to winter storms. Our advice to donors is, even though the need is urgent, take the time to donate wisely and be on your guard to protect yourself from identity theft.”