Friday, February 05, 2010

An appeal for Haiti from the Diocese of Virginia

Electronic Letterhead

February 5, 2010

Trucks for Haiti: Diocese of Virginia Churches Spearhead Campaign
The Diocese of Virginia, responding to a special request from Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), has embarked on a campaign to supply 10 small pickup trucks to ERD for its relief efforts in the Diocese of Haiti. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Diocese of Virginia churches responded by providing trucks to aid in the relief efforts. Katie Mears, co-coordinator of Haiti disaster relief for ERD, contacted the Diocese of Virginia to ask for a repeat performance of that truck campaign, this time for Haiti.

ERD explained that it currently has a system that is working well to bring supplies, water, food and medicine from the Dominican Republic to the Diocese of Haiti's Port-au-Prince central relief area. But many of the earthquake victims have settled in church communities in hilltop villages outside of Port-au-Price and Leogane. ERD needs additional trucks to ferry supplies to these remote areas. ERD asked that the trucks be "small and fierce" to handle the rough road conditions.

The Rev. Buck Aiken, who coordinated the truck campaign for Katrina relief victims, has been charged by Bishop Johnston with responding to ERD's request. Mr. Aiken commented, "ERD and the Diocese of Haiti need these trucks yesterday to distribute much needed emergency supplies. We hope to raise the money, buy the trucks and drive them to the port in Miami by the end of next week - there is no time for delay." A team of drivers hopes to leave Richmond on Thursday, February 11.

Ms. Mears explained that normally ERD would simply buy the trucks in the Dominican Republic. But supply and demand pressures have caused the price of vehicles in the Dominican Republic to skyrocket, making it more cost effective to ship the trucks from the United States.

The goal is to raise $175,000 for the 10 trucks, especially because ERD and Haiti have asked that the trucks be "almost new." We have already received over $85,000 in donations toward that goal. The Diocese of Virginia will coordinate the fundraising and transportation logistics. Initially, the trucks will be titled and insured by the Diocese of Virginia. ERD will take over in Miami, and ultimately ownership will transfer to the Diocese of Haiti for its long-term use.

We recognize that many churches and individuals have already made generous contributions. Thank you so much for that support. We hope that this truck campaign will be another avenue for all of us to come together and provide additional relief.

Please send contributions payable to the Diocese of Virginia with "Haiti Truck Relief" in the memo line (110 West Franklin Street, Richmond VA 23220). The Diocese also is continuing to collect funds for ERD generally and to assist the Diocese's missionary, Lauren Stanley, when she is able to return to Haiti.

Buck Blanchard
Director of Mission & Outreach
800-DIOCESE x16

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