Kids in Houston Help Out
Haitian Multicultural Center provides means to aid kids in need
As I walked into the Haitian Multicultural Center on a cold rainy evening in Houston, Texas, I immediately felt the warmth of the volunteers. Camera crews from the local TV stations were there covering the progress that was being made. I got a firsthand look inside the vast needs of the Haitian people.
Everyone in the crowded center was busy packing large trucks full of the everyday necessities most of us take for granted. The trucks were being filled with pallets of water, nonperishable food, and clothing to be shipped to families in Haiti.
"Haiti is in a stage of devastation and will need to be rebuilt," said Marie Baptiste, president of the association. "Houses, hospitals, and schools will need to be built." Even the country’s National Palace, the equivalent of The White House, was severely damaged.
The first 24 hours and first few days are critical, say the experts. Long-term recovery will be complicated and take time.
"People will need help with the kids that have been affected mentally, they will need clothing, they will need a place to go to school," Baptiste said. "There is a need for the temporary stage, but there is a bigger need. The nation has suffered so much. This is the biggest disaster that Haiti has suffered."
Immediate needs include temporary housing such as sleeping bags and tents. The people of Haiti also need medicine and doctors and nurses to attend to the sick and injured.
The next step will be to get engineers and construction workers to clear the debris and begin rebuilding.
"There will be lots of contamination," Baptiste said. "In order to stop potential infection and sickness, the debris needs to be cleared quickly."
Pastor Emmanuel Dumay was very worried about his relatives in Haiti.
"We have heard the news that the ones that we have located are doing okay," he told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. "We were very worried. Our family lives in Port-au-Prince, which had the most impact."
Students should get involved to help, challenged Chaz Grayer from the John F. Kennedy Center Global Class TV in Houston. Many children are now devastated and orphaned.
"When a child touches another child, you can really make a difference, " he said.
Kids in the U.S. can help by writing letters or collecting old clothes or toys to form a bond of support. Kids will also need school supplies like books and paper for when they will eventually go back to school.
At my school we are going to write letters. I am going to help set up a drive to collect toys and old clothing.
"I really want to see the children of the United States touch the children in Haiti," said Grayer.
CRISIS IN HAITI
Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.