Helping Haiti: Area groups plan ways to help stricken country

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Notre Dame Regional High School had originally planned a fundraiser to raise funds for a construction of a Zambian home and a Haitian school.

But when the students learned that a magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nations Jan. 12, they instead changed the purpose.

Scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. inside the school's cafetorium, the benefit concert will feature 23 acts with a music ranging from Christian contemporary to the Beatles. Most of the proceeds will go toward helping earthquake victims in Haiti.

Juniors Jessie Ritter and Mary Katherine Montgomery are organizing the event. They said that while they realize the donations collected won't amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, they will achieve their purpose by helping at least one person.

"We're not going to put the country back together, but we might get a little kid a new pair of shoes or a sleeping bag," Ritter said. "It's the little things that matter and that make a difference."

Montgomery said she'll never forget the disaster.

"How can catastrophic events like this happen and devastate families?" she asked. "Our school is about charity, and we're always looking for what we can do for someone else to show God's love."

Notre Dame is just one of several organizations in Southeast Missouri helping the earthquake victims.

Numerous churches have taken or plan to collect a special offering for the earthquake victims in the coming weeks. The Rev. John Rice, senior pastor of New McKendree United Methodist Church in Jackson, said his church plans to collect an offering for the victims Sunday. His members also may volunteer for a relief trip in the country if needed.

"These people have suffered a catastrophic blow to their life," Rice said, adding that Haitians "were already struggling before the earthquake."

Jenny Knoderer, financial development specialist with the Southeast Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross, estimates that donations given by individuals through the Cape Girardeau office total nearly $5,000.

"People literally have just walked up every day and dropped off checks since the earthquake," Knoderer said. "The American people have had an overwhelming response to this disaster.

"Quite frankly we want people to know how grateful we are."

She said people can donate by dropping off a check at the Red Cross' Cape Girardeau office at 2430 Myra Drive, calling toll-free at 800-733-2767 or visiting

People can also give to the United Way of Southeast Missouri and the Salvation Army, among other organizations.


Pertinent addresses:

225 S. High St., Jackson, MO

2430 Myra Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

265 Notre Dame Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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