03/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Make a Hands-On Difference for Haiti

The 442 students of Charlotte Middle School in Charlotte, Tenn. are partnering with one of the world's largest relief organizations to provide "hands-on" support for Haiti. And you can do the same!

The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at this Dickson County school are gathering supplies to make 442 "health kits" for people displaced by last week's earthquake in Haiti. Each kit will contain the same set of healthcare basics, from washcloths and towels to bandages and soap. When they are completed, these $12 kits will be shipped by UMCOR to Haiti.

UMCOR (United Methodist Committee On Relief) has provided long-term relief throughout the world since 1940, following the 200 year Methodist tradition of caring for those in need, wherever and whoever they may be. UMCOR has had a presence in Haiti for many years, is contributing to the current international relief efforts, and will be assisting with rebuilding for years to come. UMCOR estimates that hundreds of thousands of health kits will be needed over the next weeks and months.

Anyone can participate in this "hands-on" way to help Haiti. For information on how to get involved in the health kit program, go to: On the Web site, you will also find the latest information on the situation in Haiti, videos of interviews with survivors, and a live Twitter feed.

I've also discovered another way to help: your prayers for Haiti can be posted at -- a virtual prayer wall created by the people of The United Methodist Church. The prayers that have been posted to date are being carried by hand to Haiti today. New prayers that come in will be forwarded to Haiti. Additional links and video are also available at this site.

In addition, financial donations to UMCOR can be made securely at either of these Web sites. As always, 100 percent of all donations to UMCOR go directly to relief because United Methodist congregations cover all of the administrative costs.

Each one of us can do something for Haiti. That's why we'll be following the Charlotte Tigers on this blog. Over the next few weeks, their school reporters will share firsthand accounts of why the students are making this effort, and what they learn as they gather supplies and create health kits for the people of Haiti.

Here's a shout out to the Charlotte Tigers for being willing to make a difference!

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