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Helping Haiti
Locals gather money, supplies
2 Help for Haiti pic2
Jackson Morgan, 13, grabs a bag of clothing donated to the Amateur Athlete Relief Effort, a local collection program benefiting victims of the Haitian earthquakes. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

How to help

  

There are many ways residents can help the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.

  

* Donate food, water and clothing at collection boxes at both middle schools, the high school, Dawson County parks and Byrd-Stephens Building Supplies.

  

* Drop off clothing in the office at First Baptist Church, 900 Hwy. 9 North, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

  

* Write a check to Grace Presbyterian Church, 170 Hwy. 9 North. Checks should be marked for “Haiti disaster relief.”

  

* The Church at War Hill is accepting tents, tarps and antiseptics. Drop off items at 8847 Hwy. 53 East, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week

  

* Go to www.redcross.org and donate a minimum of $10, which goes to help volunteers assist survivors. Donations also fund food and supplies for victims.

In the wake of disaster in Haiti, a universal spirit of charity is surging.

  

Televised images of death, devastation and the struggle to survive have captured the hearts of communities around the world.

  

Dawson County has not been immune, with schools, organizations and local businesses stepping up efforts to collect food, supplies and money.

  

Organizers seek to aid those affected by a Jan. 12 earthquake that leveled the Haitian capital and killed an estimated 150,000.

  

It got the attention of several young Dawson County athletes, who are pooling efforts with a clothing and food drive.

  

Lane Venters, 13, felt it was his responsibility to help in any way he could.

  

“This is the time to do something,” Venters said. “It’s at a time when the people there need it the most.”

  

He and other local youth are members of the Amateur Athlete Relief Effort.

  

Set up by Dawson County coaches, the group is gathering food, water and clothes in cardboard collection boxes at the high school, both middle schools, local parks and Byrd-Stephens Building Supplies.

  

The organization will give all donations to East Cobb Church of Christ, which will ship a 40-foot container filled with necessities to Haiti.

  

Gary Wilson, a community coach at the high school, said it has been “good seeing the kids get involved [with AARE].”

  

“I’ve had plenty of them come up to me and say they want to help however they can,” he said. “They have a good heart, and they have a desire to help out.”

  

The Church at War Hill is also looking to help out.

  

Its congregation is working to fill a 2006 Nissan Frontier king cab truck with supplies to ship over to Haiti, truck and all.

  

Pastor Don Allen said church missionaries working in Haiti “have told us there’s plenty of Red Cross hospitals there, but there’s no vehicles to carry sick people to the hospitals.”

  

Allen said the church decided to fill the truck with supplies because members “figured we could either ship it empty, or we could ship it slap full.”

  

The church is asking residents to drop off tents, tarps and antiseptic supplies to fill the vehicle.

  

Other churches like First Baptist Church of Dawsonville and Grace Presbyterian are gathering funds, as well as clothing, to send to Haiti.

  

First Baptist is collecting clothing at the church office, and Grace Presbyterian is collecting monetary donations.

  

Pastor Mark Weaver said when disaster strikes, it “galvanizes our thinking.”

  

“A lot of folks have good hearts and they see the enormity of the need, and they know that many of us have more than enough, so there’s a willingness to share.”

  

Some local businesses, including Kroger, have joined the effort.

  

The grocery store has extended a donation “round-up” through Feb. 6.

  

Customers can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar. The resulting change goes to buy necessities for earthquake victims.

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