2010-01-22 / Community

Locals Come Together For Haiti Earthquake Relief

Relief Groups, Churches To Aid Victims
By Miriam Rosenberg

A flyer posted on the door of the French Speaking Baptist Church of Far Rockaway (Eglise Baptiste D’Expression Francaise de Far Rockaway) announces a Haiti Earthquake Relief Concert for Sunday, January 24 at 6 p.m. at the church on Beach 20 Street in Far Rockaway.  A flyer posted on the door of the French Speaking Baptist Church of Far Rockaway (Eglise Baptiste D’Expression Francaise de Far Rockaway) announces a Haiti Earthquake Relief Concert for Sunday, January 24 at 6 p.m. at the church on Beach 20 Street in Far Rockaway. In the wake of the tragedy in Haiti, Councilman James Sanders Jr. and several civic organizations have announced plans to help residents in the 31st Council District donate needed items for survivors of the January 12 earthquake. In addition, the French Speaking Baptist Church of Far Rockaway (Eglise Baptiste D’Expression Francaise de Far Rockaway) will be holding a benefit this weekend. St. Mary Star of the Sea is planning at least two fundraisers.

The Ad Hoc Committee to Save Haiti consists of community groups, religious leaders, veterans organizations and volunteers who have joined forces to send needed supplies to those living in the earthquake ridden areas.

At a press conference last Friday at his Rosedale office, Sanders announced that, so far, there will be two sites – the Church of the Nazarene at 1414 Central Avenue in Far Rockaway and the councilman’s new Rosedale district office at 234-26 Merrick Boulevard – for residents to drop off items such as non-perishable food, water, toiletries and shoes.

“The people of the 31st District have already reached out to me and want to know how they can help,” said Sanders just two days after the disaster. “I have faith that the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Haiti will be able to save some lives and aid at this crucial time.” The ad hoc committee grew out of an emergency meeting Sanders held last Wednesday. Those on the committee are the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE), the Haitian American Law Enforcement Fraternal Organization (HALEFO), the Haitian American Veterans Association, the Lions Club, Bethesda Church of God in Springfield Gardens, Vets Helping Vets and the Far Rockaway CERT Team.

Sanders’ office did not respond to calls seeking additional information for this article.

“My prayers and condolences go out to the people of Haiti and those here in America with family members impacted by the earthquake,” said Sanders. “During times like these, it is crucial for our community to come together and help those who cannot help themselves.”

For further information, Sanders’ suggests you contact his Rosedale office at 718-527-4356.

The French Speaking Baptist Church of Far Rockaway, located at 710 Beach 20 Street, has announced a Haiti Earthquake Relief Concert for Sunday, January 24 at 6 p.m.

The concert will be hosted by members of the church’s youth committee, Strength Through Unity.

“We’ll be accepting clothes, canned and dried food, medical supplies, and monetary donations,” said Rama C. Louis, president of Strength Through Unity. According to a flyer, those who wish to donate $25 or more should use either a check or money order. Checks should be made payable to The French Speaking Baptist Church of Far Rockaway.

Credit cards can be used by logging onto www.TheFSBCFarRock.org.

St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway has a large number Haitian congregants as well as a Haitian priest.

The church has so far done two collections during mass since the disaster, and is planning two fundraisers.

“I’ve been here eight years and I’ve never seen a collection so large [as the second one],” said Father James Cunningham of St. Mary’s. “People really responded.”

Many parishioners have had a hard time contacting friends and family. It took his associate, Father Jean Yvonne Pierre, days to find out about his family. He learned, through others, that his family was alright. But Pierre’s brother, who is the Rector of the Catholic University of Port-au-Prince, lived with the bishop and several priests who were killed in the earthquake.

“The amount of devastation is overwhelming,” said Cunningham. “Where they were living is gone. People are living in the street. Everything they had is gone.”

Cunningham suggests that the best way to assist the earthquake victims is monetary.

“There are problems with distribution [of items],” he said. “Financially is the best way to assist people.”

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