As the news hit the airwaves about the earthquake-stricken Haiti, T&T was ready and willing to help alleviate the sufferings of its Caricom neighbour. There was general care and concern expressed by various organisations when contacted yesterday. Chief Executive Officer of United Way of T&T, Pamela Francis, said the organisation already has began mobilising its stakeholders and other organisations who may be willing to assist.
She also said she was flooded with calls by citizens and organisations who were willing to pledge their support. She added that there were a lot of willing parties as the tragedy has touched everybody. Francis said all of United Way's work was done through networking and by acquiring finances and other resources. She noted that some of the major stakeholders, including Society of St Vincent de Paul, First Citizens Bank and Foundation for the Enhancement and Enrichment for Life (FEEL), already have been contacted.
"We have already began to send out notification to campaign teams for them to put things in place," she said. "We are also networking with St Vincent de Paul as they already had a relief team on the ground in Haiti," she added. Francis said the organisation had established an account at Royal Bank of T&T (RBTT) and was planning to solicit funds from the public as well. She said the International arm of United Way also was planning to support the efforts of T&T.
First Citizens Bank
Corporate Communications Manager of First Citizens, Dexter Charles, said management was in process of discussing plans to help Haiti. One of the options, he said was to channel its resources through United Way.
Chief Executive Officer, Leoline Boxil, said the board would meet today to discuss how it could assist the disaster-stricken country. She said part of its plans was to network with United Way.
Downtown Owners & Merchants Association (DOMA), in collaboration with YMCA, was requesting urgent support from the national community in donating relief supplies, including bedding, canned foods and first-aid supplies for transmission to Haiti. Contributions may be sent to YMCA, Benbow Road, off Wrightson Road, Port-of-spain.
Contact number DOMA- 625-3662 YMCA-627-9622.
T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce
The organisation said it joined the rest of the nation in expressing its deepest concern for the people of Haiti. It added that the chamber would be working with United Way and other relevant reputable agencies to ensure proper distribution of aid to Haiti.
Archbishop Edward Gilbert has authorised a special collection to be taken up in all Roman Catholic churches to be sent to Haiti on the weekend of January 23-24. He added the Catholic International Humanitarian Agency already had begun to provide assistance to victims and other Caribbean church relief efforts were forthcoming. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI said the Roman Catholic's charity organisation would immediately assist those most in need and invited everyone to pray for the victims and those mourning their loss.