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City launches 2011 Help Haiti campaign

POSTED: January 14, 2011 10:25 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

Participants in Wednesday night's vigil for Haiti relief have a moment of silence.

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One year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, the island nation is still in shambles, its people still suffering.
“I’ve not seen anything like it,” local businessman Clay Sikes said. “It’s unimaginable.”
Sikes, who has made numerous mission trips to Haiti during the years before and since the devastating quake, said if one imagines 1.3 million people lined up along “a stretch of highway” without homes or running water, little food, rampant disease, corruption and “a government that is ineffective,” that is Haiti today.
“When you land in Port-au-Prince, you’re unprepared. You think, ‘I’m only one person, what can I do?’” Sikes said.
Although Haiti’s current situation appears hopeless, there are ways to help, he said. In addition to prayer, Sikes and other community leaders say local residents can help Haiti recover.
The city of Hinesville and the United Ministerial Alliance kicked off the 2011 Hinesville Help Haiti campaign Wednesday with a prayer vigil inside the Hinesville municipal courtroom. This year’s campaign includes a shoe drive as well as monetary fundraising.
“Last year we did a collection which included money and items such as clothing,” Hinesville spokeswoman Krystal Britton said. The city helped raise about $10,000 and teamed up with the United Way to ship donations of clothing and other items to Haiti, she
“This year, with every pair of shoes we collect, we’re trying to get $1 so we can fund the cost for shipping the shoes,” Britton said. The shoe collection will continue now through Feb. 12. Nearly 20 area churches, businesses, and government offices across Liberty County will serve as drop off locations, she said.
“All drop off locations will be provided a donation box, fliers and instructions for donating cash to ship the shoes,” Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said in a press release dated Jan. 5.
“In our country, in our city we are truly blessed,” Thomas said at Wednesday’s vigil. “We must be our brothers’ keepers. We need to give in a way that helps the most people.”
“We take simple things for granted,” agreed Liberty County Commissioner Donald Lovette.
He suggested the 2011 Hinesville Help Haiti campaign be “intertwined” with the community’s upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
King, Lovette said, was a humanitarian who encouraged community service, and worked to ease the blight of poverty.
For more information, call 876-3564 or e-mail

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