Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Local Coon Rapids Groups Still Reaching Out to Haiti Quake Victims

1-14-2011 - Coon Rapids CTN NEWS Video
Watch 7:50 minutes into the video for Reiser Relief news clip on Haiti

Local Groups Still Reaching Out to Haiti Quake Victims
Written by Stephanie Ring
Friday, January 14, 2011 03:43 PM
City of Coon Rapids Minnesota, Cable News Network

COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- This week marks the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. The natural disaster killed more than 300,000 people and left much of the country in ruins.

Several local organizations have helped in Haiti over the past year but volunteers say progress is slow. Still, that hasn't dampened their spirits to keep helping.

"I didn't see a whole lot of clean up going on."

Shelley Mannella has travelled to Haiti two times since the earthquake as a volunteer for Reiser Relief, a non-profit organization that helps the country's poor.

"It was bad before but now it's bad on top of bad."

Mannella says much of the rubble remains in the country. She's headed to Haiti again in just over a week again.

"I don't expect to see anything different."

Estimates are at least one million people have been displaced from their homes because of the quake.

Mannella says, "I know people are afraid to go back inside, even if they have a house, they're afraid to sleep inside."

Thousands of people are living in tents and organizations like Reiser Relief and others are bringing in fresh water for people to drink. And Coon Rapids based Feed My Starving Children provided 58 million pre-packaged meals to Haiti last year. That's double what it normally sends.

FMSC Executive Director Mark Crea says, "The need is still great. We can't this coming year send less food to Haiti than we did last year. We need to send as much or more actually so we need your help again."

The non-profit hopes that Americans will keep their hearts and their wallets open as they continue to send food to the country. And for Carole Stufflebeam, a nurse from Prior Lake who is working in an orphanage and clinic in Haiti, she says food shipped from the U.S. is helping to fill a void for people who simply can't provide for themselves.

Stufflebeam says, "The amount of people that are still left in camps, there is no way these people can make money and there's no way they can do a garden and so what direction do they go? And that is for a long period of time, we're going to have to see what we can do to meet those needs until we can get these people independent."

Along with a government in transition, removing the rubble is the other largest barrier right now. There's not enough heavy equipment in Haiti and the cost is staggering.

For more information on the Haiti earthquake or to help the victims, check out the following links:

Reiser Relief

Feed My Starving Children

American Red Cross

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