Hope for Haiti continues

A small group of students, consisting mostly of juniors, has banded together to provide help to disaster-stricken Haiti. Since Jan. 12, Haiti has been struggling to recover from a devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake, surviving on aid provided by multiple countries.

“I was watching TV and saw all of these suffering people,” junior Kaitlyn Carl, founder of the group, said. “I was outside of my body while I sat on my couch, pitying these people and not doing anything.”

Millions of dollars in relief money plus supplies have been donated to Haiti. Celebrities like Madonna and Shakira helped to raise almost 50 million dollars during the Hope for Haiti telethon on Jan. 22. These students put in their own effort and have worked to raise awareness for the situation. Through a Facebook group and meetings, they have collected supplies and donations for the recovering nation. The group contacted more than 20 local businesses, but only heard back from Walgreens and HyVee.

“We found that there are a lot of people who want to give money but don’t know where or how,” Carl said. “We were the middle man to take the money and pass it on to a charity for them.”

In just one weekend, they collected about $230, plus $30 in supplies. The group took shifts sitting in front of Walgreens on 75th and Quivira, asking for donations. After only a few hours, though, they had to leave because they didn’t have a permit to solicit outside a business.

“I didn’t even think about needing a permit,” Carl said. “I called the city, and they’ve been enforcing the new ordinance against soliciting at businesses in Shawnee.”

In the coming weeks the group is planning to stand outside various businesses to continue collecting donations. Their list includes HyVee, Target, WalMart and other local stores. Additionally, they are trying to plan a mixer to raise money, although finding a venue is becoming a problem. In the meantime, the group is accepting donations and putting together care packages through Heart to Heart, (hearttohearthaiti.com). Through the charity, people can send money or supplies such as non-perishable food and basic medicine.

“Time is the big thing,” Carl said. “We just need people willing to give their time and effort to help those in Haiti.”

This past week, StuCo has also collected donations to benefit Haiti during 5th hour classes. All of the proceeds will go to UNICEF and will mainly be used to help youth in Haiti. Both a small and large class will win, based on whichever class raises the most money in a week. The winners will then participate in the Crazy Olympics at the WPA assembly.