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a haitian child recieving aid and supplies A boy receives food supplies at a camp for those left homeless by the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images/NewsCom)

Columbus, Ohio, Helps Haiti

Haitian in U.S. says hope will get them through

By Christian Snyder | January 22 , 2010

Luthiencia Baptiste is Haitian. Now a resident of Ohio, she knows just how bad conditions are in the country where she grew up. After last week's massive earthquake, conditions are much worse. Her father and the majority of her family have been left homeless in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital city.

Although Baptiste has had some contact with her family, she is not able to call them. She must wait for them to call her with news.

"We are extremely hopeful people," Baptiste said. "That's what keeps us going."

She has been watching news reports of violence and looting, and wants to set the record straight about her countrymen.

"We're not like that," she said. "There's going to be criminals in every country, but I just don't want people to get an idea that that's what Haiti is and who we're made up of. "

People around the world are focused on news from Haiti and the latest tragedy to strike the poverty-stricken country, including people in Columbus, Ohio. The American Red Cross of Greater Columbus and local TV station NBC 4 News are just a few organizations assisting the devastated country.

"People can help the American Red Cross by making a financial donation," said Lynn Cook, Director of Communications and Marketing for the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus. More than $22 million has already been raised $10 at a time via text messages to the international aid organization.

NBC 4 held a three-day phone bank staffed by American Red Cross volunteers. The effort raised $44,000 from the Columbus area.

"We have found that if you don't act quickly in terms of soliciting donations and help, people's interest and support wan," said Janna Buckey, Vice President of Creative Services at NBC 4. "We feel it is important to be a leader in the community."

The local NBC outlet jointed other local media organizations to hold a joint fundraiser for Haiti this week in the parking lot of the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Called Hope for Haiti, all donations went to the American Red Cross.

As Baptiste waits for further word from her family, she remembers her country's rich history and the love that her people have for each other.

"We love family, we love God, and we're very hopeful," she said. "We cling onto hope when we have nothing else."

For information on how to contribute to the American Red Cross to help the people of Haiti, log onto 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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