How to help Haiti

How to help Haiti

Here are some of the ways East Central Illinois residents are helping the people of Haiti:


– Some Franklin Middle School students have raised $700 so far through their “Helping Hands for Haiti” fundraiser.

Members of Franklin’s National Junior Honor Society are collecting donations at lunch, after school and at sporting events for relief in Haiti.

They’ve put a “Helping Hands for Haiti” bulletin board in the school’s cafeteria, with photos of the nation. Anyone donating for earthquake relief can write his or her name on a hand and put it on the bulletin board, said Meg Goethals, a sixth-grade reading teacher and the adviser for the National Junior Honor Society.

“Instead of getting a snack that day, (students) are giving their money to Haiti,” Goethals said. “It’s been really nice to see.”

The students hope to reach $1,000 in donations. The student organization emphasizes leadership and community service, in addition to academics.

The fundraising drive will continue through February. The students will donate the money they collect to the American Red Cross.

– The newly organized group C-U Haiti Relief presented an international forum and fundraiser for Haiti called “I (Heart) Haiti” on campus this week.

 Speakers with knowledge of Haiti shared their perspective about the country, and gave information on ways to participate in relief efforts, said organizer Melissa Pognon. The event also featured musical performances by drummer Bolokada Conde and Rhythm Manding, featuring dancer Alseny Soumah.

Conde and Soumah, both from Guinea, West Africa, have toured the world with Guinea’s top-performing music ensembles and are currently visiting instructors at the university through Robert E. Brown Center for World Music. Rhythm Manding is a group of Bolokada’s students who often accompany him for local performances.

For more information:

C-U Haiti Relief is a consortium of students, faculty, and Champaign-Urbana community members working for disaster relief in Haiti. The group is an initiative of Planners Network, an association of professionals, activists, academics and students involved in planning professions who promote political and economic change.

– An Urbana High School sociology class, taught by Mark Foley and Ellen Dahlke, is raising money for earthquake relief in Haiti by selling red T-shirts and bracelets this week.

Any student wearing the red "We (Heart) Haiti" T-shirt to the Urbana-Champaign Centennial basketball game on Friday will get into the game for $1. Both teams will wear the T-shirts on the court.

A portion of the gate receipts and concession money will also go to Haitian earthquake relief, through the UNICEF Foundation.

– Champaign West Rotary Club raised more than $10,000 during a 24-hour winter campout in downtown Champaign on behalf of Haitian relief.

Members camped in emergency shelters from ShelterBox International, which has already provided shelter for more than 30,000 people in Haiti.

Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless (see The agency estimates more than 1 million Haitians lost their homes in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Rotary International is a primary sponsor of ShelterBox.

The Champaign West Rotary shelter was set up at 202 S. Neil St., C, until 6 a.m. Thursday. Rotarians collected money throughout the event, and the total came to $10, 412. That will be added to the $4,905 already donated by individual Rotary members, a club press release said.

Area businesses supporting the campout included WDWS-AM, The Atkins Group, Coldwell Banker Commercial, Devonshire Realty, First State Bank, BankChampaign, One Main, Rogards, Robesons, Kanfer Gallery, AR Mechanical and Tatman's.

Students at Central High School donated $2,000  to pay for two ShelterBoxes in Haiti.

The Interact Club raised $1,000 when it set up a ShelterBox display in the school lobby and showed a video of their use around the world. And the Student Council decided to allocate another $1,000 for a second ShelterBox.

– Students from Carrie Busey Elementary School students celebrated the 100th day of school this week by collecting coins for Haiti.

Students were asked to bring in 100 coins of any denomination and donate them to the American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. Coins were collected through Friday.

First-grade teacher Crystal Hunt said several staff members suggested collecting coins, and then decided to combine it with the 100th-day celebration.

She said more than $70 was collected on Monday. Several of her students have brought in 100 pennies or 100 coins.

– Amy Hatch and Laura Weisskopf Bleill, co-founders of, offered to donate a dollar apiece, up to $100, for each post on their Web site about individual Haiti relief efforts.

Five people agreed to match the pledge, so the effort totaled more than $300, Bleill said.

– An Urbana couple is spearheading a community quilt project to raise money for Doctors Without Borders relief work in Haiti.

Jacqueline Hannah is seeking at least 100 donated quilt blocks for quilts that she and her husband, Mike, will put together. The finished quilts will be raffled off, with the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders.

The blocks can be simple or fancy. They should be 12 inches square, with bright colors and no words or drawings. They may be of any pattern but should be pieced or appliqued.

Hannah is also looking for donations of cotton quilting-quality backing material, as well as batting from old blankets that are not stretchy and are thin.

Blocks from kids are welcome as long as they are pieced, meaning the blocks have more than one piece of fabric sewn together.

Hannah has a simple pattern she can e-mail on request. Her e-mail is

She and her husband will cover most of the costs but would appreciate donations. Hannah and her husband also want help sewing the quilts.

Hannah asks for the blocks by Feb. 20. People may drop them off at the Common Ground Food Co-op on the east side of Lincoln Square Village in Urbana. Hannah is manager of the co-op.

– Yankee Ridge School in Urbana will collect money through Feb. 11 for its "Hundreds for Haiti" campaign.

Fourth-grade teacher Vickie Cromwell suggested a penny drive to tie in with the 100th day of school celebration that day.

She said a survey on students' social and emotional needs showed that parents wanted their children to learn more empathy, and Haiti offered the perfect opportunity. The focus is for students to learn how to care about each other and think about someone besides themselves, she says.

Cromwell also hopes Yankee Ridge parents and alumni join the effort.

As of Friday, the school had collected almost $700.

– South Side School in Champaign also raised money for Haitian relief, led by third-graders Cecilia Allen and Georgia Atkinson and and fifth-graders Maddie Atkinson and Sophie Wathen.

They put collection boxes in every classroom, and set up a table at the school's annual Fun Night celebration Friday. The total haul: $350. The money will go to the American Red Cross.

– St. Matthew School in Champaign challenged its 450 students and 50 teachers to donate $10 apiece for Haiti.

They surpassed that goal on Friday, raising $5,213 for Catholic Relief Services, according to Principal Kathleen Scherer.

At Holy Cross School in Champaign, children were asked to bring in their own money for a special collection for Catholic Relief Services. If they didn't have any, they could offer a good deed or a prayer, said Principal Rose Costello.

They collected a total of $1,200.

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