dimanche 1 mai 2011

Arizona group: $1 mil in supplies to be sent to Haiti

 by Weston Phippen - May. 1, 2011 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic
The Haitian Disaster Relief of Arizona will announce Sundaythat it's sending $1 million in medical supplies to Haiti, while hosting a celebrity basketball game at US Airways Center this afternoon to help raise more money.
And the people of Haiti who benefit from the supplies, owe it, in part, to an unsightly trailer parked at a Mesa strip mall.
Hawk Delivery Service donated the trailer to nurse Christine Ellis, 48, who was born in Haiti and was spearheading a relief drive for her home country.
The trailer was packed to the hilt with medical supplies and clothes for Haiti. Free space was so tight that Ellis kept some donations behind her store, in the back alley, under a tarp. Then one day Ellis got a call from a property manager who worked for the owner of the shopping center, developer Michael Pollack. The manager said Pollack drives by the center almost every day and that the trailer had to be moved.
Later that day, Ellis found herself walking over the black and white marble floors in Pollack's palatial office building, with paintings on the ceilings and elaborate trim.
"My people are dying in Haiti, and I'm trying to help them," Ellis told Pollack. Pollack left the room and returned with an assistant and placed two shopping-center maps on the table. Pollack circled buildings No. 8 and No. 13, saying 13 is his favorite number. Ellis said it was her favorite, too.
"Because I am thinking there is one God and three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," Ellis said.
Ellis left with the keys to two of Pollack's buildings near Country Club Drive and Guadalupe Road in Mesa. They come to about 9,000 square feet in all. A large banner reading "Pollack Haitian Hope Center" now hangs above the door.
"We didn't know. We thought it'd just be temporary. We didn't know that we'd still be a major supporter a year and half later," Pollack said.
Ellis has been busy preparing for today's event. Her organization, along with the Robert Tate Dyslexia Foundation, is putting on a celebrity benefit basketball game at US Airways Center.
They hope to raise awareness and money.
The transient life of the news cycle has nearly altogether left Haiti. But there is still a lot of work to be done, Ellis said.
There were more than 380,000 orphans in the country before the earthquake, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. And now Ellis worries about their future and the thousands who became orphans after the quake.
"It's almost like we lost a fourth of our generation," Ellis said.
Her organization supports an orphanage that tends to 16 kids full time, and it watches over 74 more in the camps.
Ellis travels to Haiti several times a year. She'll be leaving with a group of nurses on May 9. Each time she goes, she feels nothing has changed. The people are still suffering, they have little food, clothes, medical supplies, nothing.
Last time she was there in December, her sister said, "No, there is something that has changed: The grass in front of the palace is taller."
But Ellis knows Haiti is not a place that can be changed in a year. Pollack still pays the rent for Ellis to use the buildings, and his company donates money to the organization. He said it was the pictures Ellis showed him of children in Haiti that got to him. They were barely clothed, aimlessly wandering around devastated streets.
The pictures that Ellis showed Pollack still hang in her building, 45 in all.
Small, dark faces and big, white eyes. The kids smile against backdrops of crumbling houses. One of the pictures is of 10 boys posing for what looks like a youth-sports photo. Six are standing and four kneel.
They hold up a sign that reads, "Nou se yon ekip," or "We are a team." In front they have a round sack the kids stuffed with paper to make a soccer ball. When she goes back to Haiti in May, Ellis will bring donated soccer balls.
"We went from being poor, to being beyond poor after the earthquake," she said.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/05/01/20110501haiti-supplies-arizona.html#ixzz1L6dOonSg

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