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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Local businesses, organizations raise funds for Haiti

The disastrous consequences of Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which hit the island on Jan. 12, are thousands of miles away. Nonetheless, multiple Davis businesses and organizations are engaged in an assortment of relief efforts.

Elisa Stone of the Davis Community Church was inspired to act after she listened to a program on National Public Radio about a nine-year-old Haitian girl with a broken leg.

“I have a nine-year-old; this touched me deeply,” Stone said.

She e-mailed her pastor, Mary Lynn Tobin, at the Davis Community Church and was put in contact with the Church World Service Organization. Instead of donating money, the organization asked for specialized “hygiene kits” that would help fight the spread of disease, which is so prevalent in the makeshift refugee camps.

These hygiene kits have become a group effort, Stone said. On Feb. 13 all of the collected funds will be brought to the Davis Community Church where the kits will then be assembled.

A variety of religious organizations, from mosques to churches, are involved in the initiative. So are the UC Davis Rotary Club and the International House, which are currently collecting donations for the kits.

Large corporations are trying to do their share, too. All 134 Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source locations have designated check stand collection boxes open through Feb 13. Philanthropists can rest assured that 100 percent of their donations will be seen by the International Response Fund through The American Red Cross, as Raley’s will cover all administrative costs associated with the check stands.

“Our customers and employees have been very generous in donating to the cause,” said spokesperson Nicole Townsend.

To date funds received from the check stands total nearly $90,000.

Downtown Davis eatery and tequila bar Agave will soon join the ranks of the philanthropic. The Latin fusion restaurant located on 217 E St. will host a dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20 with 20 percent of its proceeds going towards The American Red Cross for the relief effort in Haiti.

The Dumpling House, located on 129 E St., recently hosted a day in which a portion of its proceeds was donated to The American Red Cross as well.

When Dumpling House owner Linda Lui, who also owns The Red Orchid and Davis Noodle City with her husband, heard news of the quake’s destruction, she said it hit close to home.

“In China we have earthquakes too, and a lot of families lose parents or children.” Lui said. “We make money here and we should appreciate that.”

Lui applauded the patience of her customers for withstanding long lines in order to offer a contribution.

“Everyone walked in at the same time but they [decided to] wait for the food and wait to give their donations,” Lui said.

Fellow downtown Davis business, Renew Denim, which buys overstock brand denim and sells it at a lower price, has already given a corporate donation to help expedite relief efforts in Haiti. The company, which is owned by husband and wife team Samantha and Barth Ballard, will soon host a consumer driven charitable event for Haiti. The date has not been finalized but Samantha Ballard said she feels it is critical to contribute when the immediate flow of aid money has started to dry up.

“My husband read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Journal that made us think that a charitable effort 60 days after the earthquake is almost more effective than an immediate response, due to the learnings from the [2004 Indian Ocean] tsunami relief efforts,” Ballard said.

Local organizations and corporations alike have banded together to ease the pain felt by the nation of Haiti. The efforts may be diverse but the overall notion, to help country in desperate need, is the same.

KELLEY REES can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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