First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City is asking the Tri-Cities community to support hurricane relief efforts in Haiti.
The church’s long-running outreach to the impoverished island nation dates back some 30 years. And since Hurricane Matthew struck the island, the nonprofit organizations it partners with in Haiti have been working 24/7 to help the people and meet their most immediate need, food.
“Our Global Missions committee together with our church is trying to spread the word about Hurricane Matthew’s impact on Haiti,” church member Amy Sentell said. “We have a long-standing relationship with agencies in Haiti that are updating us on the great need there.”
While Hurricane Matthew hit the U.S. hard, with dozens of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage, the relief efforts here are well underway.
Sentell said a much different story is being told in Haiti. There, infrastructure was wiped out along with crops and other essential resources, making it difficult even to determine an accurate death toll.
Needs are particularly great on the country’s southern coast. Hundreds have lost their lives, whole villages have been destroyed, clean water systems are inoperable, and where anything is available to eat, exorbitant prices are being charged.
Many people who were injured in the storm or sickened by cholera in its aftermath are without medical care. And the death toll is still climbing.
While the U.S. military and numerous charitable organizations are helping in Haiti, the emergency relief needs there are staggering.
Sentell said news coverage of Haiti’s plight has been woefully limited and has spurred the church to raise awareness in the local community and extend an opportunity for people in Tri-Cities to join the relief effort.
First Presbyterian Church is asking for individual donations of any amount, and is also seeking other churches that may be willing to partner in its Haitian mission during the coming months of recovery.
The church’s outreach to Haiti includes three decades of financial support for the Haiti Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Episcopal Church of Haiti to operate 40 Haitian schools.
SOURCE: SUE GUINN LEGG
Johnson City Press