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Feb-08-2010 14:26printcomments

Oregon Community EFFORT for Haiti: Priceless

I ask for teams all around to join our team and help alleviate a small need, to help us remember our connection and common humanity.

Preparation for trip from Portland, Ore. to Haiti to deliver relief supplies
There is plenty to accomplish in this local effort to aid the people of Haiti, and anyone who wants to get involved can contact the group through the Facebook link in this story. Photos: Alysha Atma

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The need in Haiti is great, during this time many have gathered to give and do what they can to help. I am honored to coordinate such a project through Clackamas High School and Linwood Elementary, with several more community groups joining weekly.

We are collecting clothes and hygiene supplies to bring to Haiti in April. The flood of community support has been tremendous.

Darryl Wright with Oregon PODS has donated the use of a 16 ft POD, parked at Clackamas High School; our goal is to fill it, 450 boxes. To help us achieve this mighty task Curt Hill of Rose City movers donated 200 packing boxes.

Mike Voytko from OfficeMax helped us by donating two tape guns and six rolls of packing tape. We would not be able to command such feat without the help of our local businesses. All of us working thank them so much and greatly appreciate their support to our success.

The first Sunday work party, February 7 was a great success. Forty boxes, ten percent of our goal were sorted, packed, taped and stacked; we expect to double that within this week. The generosity of the students and families that have donated was truly inspiring.

We received so many great shirts, pants, beautiful dresses many of which still had tags. We were shocked and really astonished when we found that one student had given a pair of $150 jeans, new with the tag. Whoever you are, we thank you so much.

With an already outpouring of support, the week before the drive began; 10 boxes, 15 bags and two truckloads was just the beginning. Our drive officially began Monday Feb.1 and will continue through March 20.

Images from the trip's preparation

During this time all who are curious and interested can follow our progress through Salem-News.com I will be highlighting the community involvement and allowing a platform for others to get involved.

Hygiene supplies that we all take for granted, that keep us healthy are in the highest of demand. We are looking for bars of soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The need for these three basic necessities is incredibly high.

We have already begun to hear of reports that the odor is so terrible it is turning people away. Many of the aid workers have begun to use the toothpaste on their upper lip to help control the smell.

My vision is to fill at least five percent of our goal with hygiene supplies; unfortunately we have yet to amass even one box. Through local research our team has realized that one dollar can go quite a distance; through local dollar stores this equates to five toothbrushes, four bars of soap or even one tube of toothpaste.

Upon completion of our goal, and in conjunction with local and national support the boxes will make the journey from our Oregon community to South Louisiana, and then shipped to Haiti where a small team and I will personally hand out these small treasures to the people of Haiti.

Our team will be listening and giving small comforts to those that so desperately need it; a time that I am truly honored to be part of, a chance to learn from their strength, resilience and ever giving heart.

I ask for teams all around to join our team and help alleviate a small need, to help us remember our connection and common humanity.

In an effort to bring commentary to all those involved, the students of Clackamas High School have put together a facebook profile to track our progress and show pictures; please feel free to login and check in from time to time. facebook.com/event.php?eid=281731580024&index=1

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Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the belegured people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alyshann78@comcast.net




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Nelly O'Neille February 11, 2010 9:47 am (Pacific time)

Keep Haiti in your hearts on Valentines Day! Instead of a traditional card, I’ve posted a photo of my better half on the Haiti: Wall against Hunger – at http://wall.wfp.org

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