The massive earthquake that struck Haiti has promoted an international response with aid for the victims and Anna Maria Island is playing its part.
Agencies are collecting food, clothing and other necessities plus money to help the victims. Here is a rundown of what is happening.
For the third time in recent years, Ed Chiles had employees take the dollar bills off the wall at the Pub at Mar Vista. Chiles said the $3,100 along with a corporate donation will go to Haitian relief but he hasn’t decided how he will distribute it.
Publix Super Markets has established a program to offer its Florida customers and associates a way to directly assist those areas in Haiti affected by a recent 7.0 earthquake. Customers may donate any amount by adding it to their grocery totals when checking out at Publix registers.
Collected money will be channeled through the American Red Cross and designated specifically for the Haiti Relief and Development Fund. The program will continue for a few weeks, based on customer response.
“Our customers and associates have trusted Publix to react quickly and help those affected by tragic circumstances,” said Maria Brous, director of media and community relations. “This devastating disaster to Haiti hits close to home as we have many associates and their families from the island.”
In a separate donation, Publix Super Markets Charities is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts for the areas affected by the earthquake.
The Anna Maria Island Community Center Teen Scene Program is taking donations of supplies for the victims. Teens are looking for hygiene items such as body wash, first-aid supplies, hair and tooth brushes, rubbing alcohol, toilet paper, lotion, bottled water plus blankets children’s clothes, shoes and socks and non-perishable food, that they will collect until Monday, Jan. 25. They ask that you bring the items to the Community Center at 407 Magnolia, Anna Maria.
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is accepting donations of cash and checks at the church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. The money will be forwarded to Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and 100 percent will go to Haitian relief. Donations by credit card can be made at www.elca.org/disaster.
The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation will give money through the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund for Haitian relief, according to a church official. It also is soliciting church members in the weekly bulletin for contributions.
More businesses join in
Help is coming from the business community, also. Lorie Hegele, owner of Cut and Color 2 Dye 4, 5386 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, is holding a fund-raiser on Saturday, Jan. 23. All proceeds from hair styles and cuts will go toward Haitian relief. The charge is $15, or customers can give a love offering of more. Hegele asks that customers come with clean hair so she won’t have to take the time to shampoo. She said the more customers she can get, the more money goes to Haiti. Service is on a first-come, first-served basis, and reservations won’t be taken. She will also accept donations of clothing, bottled water and non-perishable foods. Her number is 704-5392.
Kellie Spring, who works at the Sign of the Mermaid restaurant, 9707 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, is trying to collect items to send there.
“We want to make the restaurant a drop-off center for dry goods including clothes, towels and blankets plus water and dry food,” she said. “My boyfriend found a church off 301 that will be able to get them to Haiti.
Rotary and Kiwanis
The Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island has donated $1,000 to purchase a Shelter Box, a self-contained unit that offers minimal shelter for as many as 10 people for six months. It comes with a 10-person tent, blankets and ground mats, a stove and cooking equipment, water containers and purification tablets, a tool kit and other essentials.
The club is also donating $2,000 to Rotary International for Haitian relief.
“We’ve set up a link on our Web site, www.annamariarotary.org for anybody to donate to Rotary International,” said Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island President Judy Rup. “Only one percent of the money they receive goes for administration. Ninety-nine percent goes to Haiti.”
The Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club is asking its members to donate to the Kiwanis Foundation, which will send the money to the Red Cross, said Kiwanis President Sandy Haas-Martens.
Waiting for news
Father Jean-Woady Louise, of St. Bernard Catholic Church, is from Haiti, and he is awaiting word from his home country.
“I still belong to the Archdiocese of Port Au Prince, and I now work for the Venice Archdiocese with Haitians in the Wauchula area,” he said. “All of my relatives are still there, my father and my cousins and others.”
Father Woady found out late last week that they are all well, but they lost everything.
Another Haitian on the Island is Michel Dorisca, the dishwasher at the Sign of the Mermaid restaurant.
He did not find out about his family until Saturday. He has two brothers and four nephews there and they are all alive and in good condition, although they lost their home and possessions.
He said one of his nephews returned to Haiti three weeks ago after spending time here with him on vacation.
The BeachHouse restaurant has three Haitian employees. Nacius Badio learned that one of his daughters was killed and two more family members are still missing, Emmanuel Philoxene lost eight counsins and Rodney Atenor's family home is located outside of Port A Prince so he is presumed to be safe, according to BeachHouse manager Michael Shannon.
Anna Maria Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Pidge Taylor’s daughter just returned from Haiti where she distributed hygiene items such as combs and toothbrushes to the children there.
“I just saw some pictures of the children there holding their new items,” she said. “It’s terrible to see them and not know if they are OK.”
The school is participating in the Manatee County School District’s Hope for Haiti drive. The district is taking donations until Feb. 1, and the school will have donation jars in the classrooms and at the main desk to take money. They ask that donors make checks payable to the Red Cross or the Manatee Education Foundation.