Relief organization makes it easy for students to donate to Haiti

Want to help Haiti? Look under your couch.
Colby Hall has joined Haiti relief efforts by collecting spare change to donate to Week of Compassion, a Disciples of Christ refugee and development mission fund in the United States and Canada.

Whitney Peters, a junior middle school education major and resident assistant in Colby, said the idea is an easy way to get the residents involved in helping Haiti.
Students can bring spare change to Colby’s office or contact Peters at [email protected] to donate. Peters said the hall doesn’t have a dollar count yet, but it expects to raise more than $100.

Associate Chaplain Jake Hofmeister said the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life has set up a Facebook group where students and faculty alike can post how they are providing aid and ask questions about what else they can do to help.

Hofmeister said students have donated money and several aid kits to the Church World Service, a group that has worked with the Disciples of Christ. According to the CWS Web site, the group focuses its efforts on relieving hunger and poverty around the world, but also assists in disaster relief, as is the case with Haiti.

“(Students) can just go ahead and buy supplies to make the kits, drop them off (at the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life) and we’ll mail them off,” Hofmeister said.

In coordination with Hofmeister’s office, the Residence Hall Association will host a hygiene package assembly event tonight with free food, games, movies and music available to the students for entertainment.

Eric Russell, a sophomore psychology major and president of the RHA, said students should attend the kit-making event and have a little fun in the process.

“We wanted to host a community-based charity because so many people in Haiti need help right now,” Russell said.

According to the Helping Haiti Facebook group, kits can include a hand towel, washcloth, wide-tooth comb, nail clipper, bar of soap, toothbrush and Band-Aids. The kits will be assembled to fit the needs of the CWS cause and a donation bucket will be available at the event with all funds going toward the relief effort in Haiti. The money will either be shipped with the kits or be sent electronically through an RHA account, pending further discussion, Russel said.

The Chi Upsilon Sigma Sorority is also raising money through donations to send to Haiti, a chapter official said.

Amanda Kruse, vice president of Chi Upsilon Sigma’s Alpha Zeta Chapter, said the group has raised $1,500 nationally and the funds that have been collected at the university will be sent off at Saturday’s sisterhood conference in Denton, along with the money raised by other chapters.

“We’re small for a sorority, so I know most of my sisters (are) from other states, several of whom have family in Haiti or are from Haiti themselves,” Kruse said. “It really hit home for us.”

Alumni are also doing their part to help Haiti. Dr. Ric Bonnell and wife Dr. Wendy Heger Bonnell, both alumni, have volunteered their services to an organization called Project Help Haiti for the past four or five years, said Jon Bonnel , Ric Bonnell’s brother.

Both Ric and Wendy Bonnell recruited and organized the first medical quake assistance team from the organization, which arrived Saturday, Jan. 16, according to the Project Help Haiti blog.

Jon Bonnell said that when the earthquake hit Haiti his brother felt that he had to get down there.

“Ric called me on Thursday (Jan. 14), and had a team ready to go on Saturday (Jan. 16),” Jon Bonnell said. “(Ric) said, ‘I’ve got to get down there…I’ve talked to our people on the ground, they are alive and I need to go help them.'”

Ric and Wendy Bonnell were not available for comment.

TBPW Haiti Aid Kit-Making Event

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Tom Brown-Pete Wright lobbies