Local Haitians Mobilize To Send Aid Home

Aurora Church Facilitating Donations

An Aurora church took donations and talked about solutions with the families of victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Agape Seventh Day Adventist Church has several congregation members whose families were impacted by the quake.

Wilfrid Gabriel’s family lives in Jacmel, outside of Port-au-Prince, an area that was devastated by the earthquake. Gabriel learned on Wednesday that his younger sister perished in the earthquake.

“My younger sister has passed away, has been crushed by the house,” he said. The rest of Gabriel’s family has been sleeping in the streets of Jacmel, terrified to go indoors for fear that massive aftershocks will topple more buildings.

Gabriel has been following news coverage of the earthquake for days, but said it has left him feeling powerless.

“Lately I don't watch TV anymore,” he said. “I feel helpless sitting there doing nothing. I realize the severity of what's going on in my country, my hometown. It's really hard.”

Emmanuel Jean, an elder with the church, helped organize the meeting specifically to help family members whose grief has given way to hopelessness.

“That's the main frustration we have right now,” said Jean. “We want to do something right now, but we are unable to do.”

So Jean helped bring in aid workers from The Red Cross and other relief organizations to tell families how to help out in big ways and small.

Volunteers counseled family members on organizing baby food donations and blood drives and urged them to find a reputable organization to donate to regularly.

Natacha Augustine, who lost two relatives in the earthquake, said she left the gathering feeling empowered.

“I'm walking away with a lot of ideas, ways that I can go and do things,” said Augustine. “When I leave here, I'm going to do something. That's my country.”

Agape will continue to collect donations to pass on to charities helping with earthquake relief.