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City's churches unite to aid earthquake victims

Date: 1/25/2010

Jan. 25, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield, working in conjunction with Church World Services (CPS), asked local residents on Wednesday to support a campaign that would send adult and baby hygiene kits to Haiti.

Meeting at the Basilica of the Holy Apostles on State Street, the group of clergy was led by Archbishop Timothy Paul of the Basilica who called the appeal "a challenge to [the area's] churches and the community."

Amy Porter of CPS explained the two hygiene kits are standard donations assembled and shipped to locations overseas from the organization's warehouse in New Windsor, Conn. She said the entire contents of the warehouse are going to be sent to relief workers in the earthquake-stricken nation and donations are important to help replenish the warehouse for additional assistance to Haiti.

A donation of $10 pays for a hygiene kit and $39 pays for a hygiene kit for children, she said.

People are also encouraged to make the kits on their own for donation. The hygiene kits include one 16" by 28" hand towel, one washcloth, one wide-tooth comb, one nail clipper, one bath-size bar of soap, one toothbrush in original packaging and six standard adhesive bandages packaged in a one-gallon plastic bag with zipper.

The baby care kit contains six cloth diapers, two T-shirts or underwear (no onesies), two washcloths, two gowns or sleepers, two diaper pins, one sweater or sweatshirt and two receiving blankets.

Porter said the contents of the kits have been selected over years of experience of what people in crisis need. She added monetary donations include the cost of shipping the kits.

Porter said that many area churches have been directly affected by the earthquake as part of the ministries have included programs in Haiti. Paul said his congregation lost members as well as a training facility in Haiti.

Paul said that checks made out to Church World Services or hygiene kits could be dropped off to the Basilica at 339 State St.

For additional information on the kits, go to Rev. J. P. Morgan Jr., of the Holy Trinity Church of God in Christ of Springfield, said, "If there was a time to show love, show the love of God in our hearts, the time is now."