Haiti relief efforts continue at Simpson


by Sam Dearden/Staff Writer

Five weeks after an earthquake devastated the country of Haiti, relief efforts on Simpson’s campus for Haitian citizens are still going strong. RLC has created many opportunities for students to give time and money to help the cause.

“(We are doing) a change drive in which the one who raises the most money, the King or Queen, will choose which of three organizations…will receive our monetary donation,” junior Kayla Hamilton, RLC president, said. “(We’re also doing a) shoe drive, volunteering our time with Meals from the Heartland by helping put together food packages for the people of Haiti and helping Kati Herr with her T-shirt project.”

Approximately 3,000 T-shirts have been donated to the “T-Shirts for Haiti” project. The T-shirts will be cut up into strips and crocheted together to make mats for people in Haiti to sleep on. Both RLC and the service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, are helping create the mats.

“We have arranged to use (T-shirts For Haiti) as our service project at our sectional conference on Feb. 27,” junior Laura Anderson, APO president, said. “We are planning to help cut and crochet the mats with other APO chapters around the state.”

“T-shirts For Haiti” generated a lot of interest with APO.

“We chose this project because it is an awesome cause…and it will benefit the Simpson community as well as our neighbors in Haiti,” Anderson said. “(We are) helping them recover, even if it is only giving them something to sleep on.”

Anderson also hopes to spark interest in the T-shirt project at other colleges.

“We chose to do this at our annual conference because it is something we can do at minimal cost that will generate a lot of interest,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, this will get the “T-shirts For Haiti” project started at other colleges and universities around the state.”

RLC encourages students to give as much or as little as they can to help those in need in Haiti.

“We aren’t asking for much, just (clothes and shoes) you already have and are not using,” junior Megan Culbertson said.  “Haiti is in so much need right now, think about giving whatever you can!”

These projects have spurred consideration of more lengthy ideas in the future.

“I would love to see a spring break trip go to Haiti next spring to help with the continuing clean-up,” Culbertson said.

As a result of helping the people of Haiti, there has been much reflection on campus about the importance of volunteerism.

“The Simpson community is already so involved in the world, and responding to the disaster in Haiti is just one more way to give back,” Hamilton said. “We are already helping the homeless, working at after-school programs and building houses for Habitat. These needs will always exist. We must also recognize temporary needs, like those that surface in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and respond in full force.”