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Friday, February 23, 2024
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More Supplies Head to Haiti, Call Centers Being Readied

This trailer loaded with supplies left Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg's headquarters Wednesday afternoon.While some Virgin Islanders are returning from recent trips to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, there are many on St. Thomas still collecting donations and getting them ready to be shipped out on the next plane.
On Wednesday, Four Winds Plaza was bustling with local relief efforts. On one side, volunteers at Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg’s camp loaded a 20-foot trailer filled with water, food, clothes and other supplies and prepared to put together another shipment for Thursday.
"We’ve had people from all walks of life bringing in donations, large and small," Donastorg said later. "I think the amount and variety of supplies collected truly speaks to the loving and giving spirit of the community. Times are hard everywhere, but it seems that almost everyone found something to give."
Bellows International donated the trailers, and Donastorg said the collection efforts will run through the month. Along with the campaign headquarters, donations can also be brought to Donastorg’s office on St. Thomas or the Frenchtown Community Center. Monetary donations will be forwarded to the Red Cross, he said.
For more information, residents can call 693-3515.
Around the corner, volunteers were repackaging hundreds of cardboard boxes full of more supplies for earthquake victims. The efforts, according to volunteer LouEllen Brown, are being spearheaded by Dr. Alfred Heath, who has been back and forth between Haiti and the territory over the past few weeks.
Pastor Gladstone Hazel, representing a coalition of ministers on St. Thomas and St. John, was also among the crew, along with several members of the territory’s Haitian community, who came out to help load the trailers. Stacked high in the room were boxes filled with everything from shoes to wedding dresses, and Brown said the volunteers have been working around the clock to make sure only items in good condition are being sent over.
"They deserve the best," she said.
At this point, the operation has had to stop accepting clothing because of the overflow, but is still looking to collect more food, water and medical supplies. More volunteers are also needed, Brown said.
For more information, residents can call 774-3538 or 774-4573 in the evenings.
On the government side, Gov. John deJongh and Senate President Louis P. Hill, in conjunction with Innovative Telephone and Tutu Park Mall, are working to set up a call center where residents can call their friends and family in Haiti for free for the next month.
The center is expected to open up in Tutu Park Mall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. Once more sites can be identified, similar centers will be set up on St. John and St. Croix. Residents interested in volunteering at the center can call Duanjae Crooke at 693-4350.

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