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Islanders compelled to offer aid, donations to Haitian victims

By Staff | Jan 20, 2010

The nation of Haiti is approximately 829 miles away from Sanibel Island. And though geographically there are similarities – both possess long, sandy beaches, warm weather, swaying palm trees and a laid-back lifestyle – the differences far outweigh the similarities.

Sanibel residents live in sturdy, relatively hurricane-safe homes, many with turquois blue pools and multiple bathrooms. Many of our residents have strong incomes, retirements and, in some cases, estates and foundations to live a carefree life.

Education and health care are available to most residents. And our environmental protection laws shelter the island?s’ air, water and land from toxins and harmful bacteria.

Food is plentiful and often not even a thought. Looting, frequent attacks, bloodshed, starvation and rotting from disease and famine never enter most islanders minds.

But in Haiti – fellow islanders, so to speak – life is filled with starvation, violence and death. The island nation is reeling after a 7.0 earthquake shattered their little island last week.

The country and world has answered their pleas for help and relief in the form of food, medical professionals and troops are pouring in Haiti. Though a quick survey conducted by the Islander revealed that all felt terrible about the earthquake in the western hemisphere’s poorest country, most were not sure what they could do to help.

Money seemed to be unanimous answer.

Islanders here are quick to recognize the call for help and many immediately started opening their wallets – and hearts – to help out our fellow but unfortunate islanders.

The Island Reporter has compiled some places you can send or give money to assist the Haitian people as they attempt to recover from this devastating event:

At St. Michael?s All Angels Episcopal Church’s Noah’s Ark Thrift Store, they are collecting money to donate to Haiti. A simple sign is posted near the shop’s cash register. Karen Rahn, a Noah’s Ark chairperson, said the church already has donated several thousand dollars to a Haitian relief fund.

Noah’s Ark is located to the rear of the church, at 2304 Periwinkle Way. For more

information, call 472-2173.

The Jacaranda Restaurant is sponsoring an event on Thursday, Feb. 4 to bring resources and awareness to the crisis in Haiti. The event will be held at the restaurant. located at 1223 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel. The event will feature the music of Soli and Andre.

Island business owner Marcia Kimball is heading up efforts to collect donations for former President Bill Clinton’s Haitian relief. The Clinton Foundation is working to help Haitians in need, Kimball said.

“They need cash,” she added.

Kimball, who has been heavily in involved in New Hampshire politics, became

friendly with former President Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary

Rodham Clinton, about six years ago. She worked for two years on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“We talked about Haiti then,” Kimball said.

She explained that helping Haiti has always been important to the Clintons?. Kimball herself is floored at the massive devastation and hardship the already struggling country is suffering.

“None of us can comprehend how they live,” Kimball said. “This is when you see

people?s humanity – when these things happen. These are desperate people that

need help. That’s why I am supporting the Clinton Foundation.”

Donations can be made by going to www.clintonfoundation.org. Kimball also said that the donations are tax deductible.

“I am encouraging everyone to do what they can,” she added.