Sadness in Seattle
Family loss turns to humanitarian efforts after earthquake in Haiti
Seattle, Washington, resident Wendy Cadet Owie was driving to her interview with the Scholastic Kids Press Corps when her cell phone rang with the news she had been dreading. Owie's wheelchair-bound aunt in Haiti—whom she and her relatives had been praying for—did not survive last Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
"It's really heartbreaking," says the Haitian native, who has lived in the United States for the past nine years.
Fortunately, both her parents survived the quake, though 48 hours went by before she found out they were safe. Owie says she was unable to concentrate on anything but the news on both her TV and computer until she finally got the word.
"On Thursday, I reached my dad on his cell phone," she told this reporter. "They are doing well—they have food and water right now, but I'm not sure how long it's going to last."
Other relatives who lost their house are now sleeping outside the Owie family home. Though the house didn't collapse, they don't know if the structure is safe.
Owie is worried about more than just her own family. She is worried for all of the Haitian people.
"They need water, food, and medical supplies," she said. "It's just heartbreaking."
Owie volunteers for the Elise Joseph Foundation, an organization based in Philadelphia. It was started by her relatives to lend humanitarian help to Haitians. She is also holding a fundraiser event at Seattle's Kwa Tay restaurant, where guests will be charged a $10 admission to listen to Haitian music and buy Haitian art.
Though the Elise Joseph Foundation has a plane and pilot waiting to take supplies to Haiti, nothing can be shipped right now, Owie says. So she is focused on donating the money to Doctors Without Borders.
"People are dying every day," she said. "They need help right away. Hopefully we'll get the green light to go over there soon."
What can kids do to help in this disaster? Owie says they can spread the word and let people know what's going on in Haiti.
"Even if you aren't capable of giving, you can help by just praying," she said.
For more information about the Elise Joseph Foundation, check out the organization's website.
CRISIS IN HAITI
Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.
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