Nearly a month has passed since Hurricane Matthew spiraled through Haiti as a Category 5 storm and conditions there are still devastating. But local business owners and leaders continue to coordinate efforts to help the country’s residents.
Events will be held through Palm Beach County next week, and city leaders have joined together to create the PBC Haiti Relief Fund and the South Florida Haiti Relief Group.
On Monday, the South Florida group — comprised of elected officials and leaders from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties — received $25,000 from Florida Power & Light. Yellow Cab of Broward’s charitable foundation also gave $25,000.
The leaders of the Palm Beach County fund are asking for money and medical supplies. Both can be dropped off at any of the five Boynton Beach fire stations and City Hall. Money can also be given at any PNC Bank branch, and checks can be made out to PBC Haiti Relief Fund.
Boynton Beach Commissioner Christina Romelus is part of both efforts and said the focus is more on stimulating Haiti’s economy rather then overflowing the residents with clothes and shoes from elsewhere.
“We’re simply just trying to bring together the Haitian community here in Palm Beach County and anyone else who wants to assist and donate and bring that assistance to Haiti and help them get back on their feet,” said Romelus, a native of Haiti.
The Palm Beach County group hopes to be send money and supplies to Haiti within 30 days. There will also be a telethon on Friday.
There are also events being held around the county.
- The Upper Cervical Institute of Florida with Eat Better Live Better will host Boot Camp For a Cause on Saturday. The event is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at 7301A W. Palmetto Park Rd. Boot camp starts at 9 a.m. Attendees are asked to donate non-perishable food, water, baby formula and clothes. For information, visit bootcampforhaiti.eventbrite.com or call Debra at (678) 428-3370.
- St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School is hosting its third Food Packing for Haiti on Nov. 5. The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 500 participants will pack 80,000 meals for hungry children in Haiti. The church will also accept clothing and shoes donations. The church is at 3395 Burns Rd. To register, visit www.foodpackingforhaiti.org.
Romelus, who moved from Haiti when she was six, still has family living on the island, mainly around Port-Au-Prince. They made it through the hurricane without major damage.
“At this point in time right now with the country being in the state of upheaval as it is there’s a lot of uncertainty. Kids are supposed to be going back to school and a lot of schools are either destroyed or closed. There’s just a lot of chaos,” Romelus said.
She said the Haitians want monetary donations for economic stability.
“Time and time again we keep seeing Haiti hurt and pummeled down to the ground and something else comes up and it happens again,” Romelus said. “But we’re trying to get to the point this time to try and give them infrastructure so when and if something comes again they can get on their feet faster.”