Local efforts raise $300,000 for Haiti's quake victims

Donations from Peterborough and area residents for Haiti relief have topped $300,000 as of Friday night.

A 7-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished Caribbean nation a month ago Friday.

The local Red Cross office has received a little more than $200,000 towards relief efforts, branch president Brenda McCarrell said.

Peterborough-based charity Seeds of Hope has received about $93,000 -- with another $2,000 in pledges, founder Heather Rodin said.

Another $9,696 has been donated through the local Salvation Army.

That $300,000 total could be nearly doubled by the federal government. The government has pledged to match individual donations made to registered charities.

McCarrell has been especially impressed by the area's children.

"The schoolchildren have been just amazing," she said. "The things they have come up with to raise moneys."

Donations have come in from piggy banks, school events and a group of pupils spending seven hours in rocking chairs a week ago who raised $3,610.27.

"The response has been from the youngest to the eldest in the community," McCarrell said.

Even though donations will no longer be matched by the government, the need in Haiti will continue.

"Really it's a 10-year project," she said. "This is something that's going to take a tremendous amount of rebuilding, relocating and all of those things that are going to take place down there."

That long-term need is why not all the money is spent right away, McCarrell explained.

Donors can find out how their money is being used by following the updates at red-cross.ca, McCarrell said.

The $93,000 raised for Seeds of Hope is incredible, Rodin said, and makes a huge difference to the work the organization will be able to do.

All the money is earmarked, including purchasing another 160 tents to be used for temporary shelter, she said.

Rodin is also grateful for the response from the local schools that held fundraisers for the charity. She specifically mentioned Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School and Rhema Chri s t i a n School for being significant donors.

Also of note, Rodin said, was a readathon held by St. Anne's School that raised more than $7,000.

Seeds of Hope has nearly filled a container with supplies for Haiti, including pallets of food, medical supplies, wheelchairs and walkers. Rodin said the charity will send the container once Tony Jones returns to Haiti and can ensure the goods are delivered. Jones will return once immigration issues with his wife are handled, Rodin said.

For the past month, Seeds of Hope has sent money to repres e nt at i v e s on the ground through Western Union. Volunteers have fed 500 people three times a day.

"It has been so nice to get this money to them and not sitting in a bank account," Rodin said.

Getting the tents to Haiti is important, Rodin said, because they have 200 orphans sleeping on and under banana leaves.

"There's lots to do with this money because we can do so much more than we were able to do before."

Next up for Seeds of Hope is submitting a proposal to the government to ensure all their donations are matched

NOTE: Heather Rodin thanked the Peterborough Pop Ensemble for the fundraising concert held earlier this month.

Source: Posted By NICOLE RIVA , EXAMINER CITY EDITOR

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