Last week I began following the 442 students of Charlotte Middle School in Charlotte, Tenn. who are partnering with UMCOR, one of the world's largest relief organizations, to provide "hands-on" support for Haiti.
The Charlotte Tigers were already focusing on the positive character trait of generosity for the month of January. Now they are putting generosity into action. This week they are gathering the supplies they will need to put together 442 health kits that will be sent to Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of these kits will be needed over the coming months. The students sent out a flyer asking their peers to bring washcloths, combs, fingernail clippers, bars of soap, toothbrushes, and bandages to school by Friday.
When these 6th, 7th and 8th grade students were asked why they want to help, here's what some of them said:
- We want to help the millions that are in need!
- They are in a crisis right now.
- We would want to help us if we were in need.
- Now is a time for us to do good.
- We don't like to see people hurting.
- Hopefully something good can come from this destruction.
- People do not get poor by giving.
- They lost everything... they need help, and we can help.
- If we were in that position, I would want the more fortunate to help us.
- We are fortunate. We have enough to help.
Their partner in this effort is UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), one of four charities that received an A+ rating last week from the American Institute of Philanthropy for their efforts in Haiti. UMCOR has been in Haiti for years and, according to Melissa Crutchfield, the team leader in Haiti, "UMCOR is committed to staying for the duration. We are going to build a solid foundation for the long term."
We'll continue to follow this story as it unfolds at Charlotte Middle School.
Meanwhile, like the Charlotte Tigers, you can provide "hands-on" help, too.
To assemble health kits go to: www.umc.org/Haiti
To assist the thousands of families in Louisiana and Mississippi who still need permanent housing after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita go to:
Mississippi: www.mississippi-umc.org (click on "Katrina Recovery")
To learn more about UMCOR go to: www.umcor.org