By BRETT NUCKLES
|Changing Haiti mission group members from the Franklin |
Church in New Albany include (from left) Mary Eller, members
Ohio State University junior Mary Eller hasn't forgotten the story of one young girl who was pulled from the rubble in Port-au-Prince nine days after the tragic January 2009 earthquake that rattled Haiti.
After her rescue, the girl told reporters she wanted to become a doctor like those who nursed her back to health.
"Everyone was interested in talking to her then," Eller said. "But no one is there talking to her now."
That girl's story represents one in a long list of broken promises to the Haitian people, and the children most of all, Eller said.
"Everyone in Haiti is hurting, but the children are the ones who truly cannot help themselves," she said.
Changing Haiti, an ongoing fundraising effort, has been her response. The multi-church project, spearheaded by Eller with help from her friends and pastor at Franklin Church in New Albany, aims to raise $10,000 for Lovelink, a residence for orphaned and abandoned children in Port-au-Prince.
The project will culminate in a mission trip July 13-19, when Eller, the Rev. Mike Brown and 10 other church members will personally deliver the money to Lovelink.
Proceeds will go to help repair dormitories and an activity center damaged during the earthquake.
Several other Central Ohio churches have joined in on the effort, including Northpointe Community Church in Lewis Center, Christ Fellowship Church in Westerville, and First Love Church in Reynoldsburg.
The churches will be keeping donation jars and working on their own fundraising efforts, Eller said. The jars also will go out to area businesses in the coming weeks.
Franklin Church members will do their part with a bake sale planned for May 3, and a spaghetti dinner May 6.
A summertime bash is in the works, tentatively planned for June 10, to raise money and celebrate the first day of summer vacation for New Albany students. The event is still in the planning stages, but likely will feature games and an outdoor movie.
The "Kids Helping Kids" student talent show rounds out current plans on June 18. Talented children from the community will show off their skills and all proceeds will go to Changing Haiti.
All churches involved also are accepting direct donations.
Questions can be directed to Franklin Church, 7171 Central College Road in New Albany.
Members of the mission trip also are working to raise money to cover their travel expenses -- an extra $10,000 cost.
More than a year after the disaster, the group just wants to do its part to help in the ongoing recovery, Brown said.
"All the news (on Haiti) has kind of gone away, but the need is greater than ever," he said.