Markea Petty felt blessed that the 7.0 earthquake that hit the nation of Haiti last month missed the United States.
But the 16-year-old Clairton resident wasn’t happy to see the horrific pictures of starving and stranded children that constantly flashed on the television screen.
VOLUNTEERS WORKING THE ASSEMBLY LINE
So when church member Anita Hammons asked her to help with an effort she was putting together to help Haiti, Petty was eager to give her assistance.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that you are helping the children in Haiti,” said Petty, a member of Morning Star Baptist Church in Clairton.
About a dozen of Petty’s fellow church members were on hand to help bag up donations to be shipped to Haiti.
“I believe that doing this can make a difference for the victims,” said Cinnamon Price Murray, 17. “This can help them with everyday needs. It’s really hard to imagine that this happened.”
Cinnamon’s mother, Bertha Murray, agreed
“I was so concerned about the kids over there. I kept walking the floor at night and I couldn’t stop watching it on television,” said Murray who has worked as an in-home childcare provider for 35 years. “You just can’t do nothing. If there’s a need, I’m there. It’s a good feeling when you see people still coming out alive,” she said.
The donation effort was spearheaded by Hammons. She had the support of church pastor, Rev. Dr. Jerome Stevenson.
“If we put our little bit together it turns out to be a lot,” Stevenson said. “The tragedy in Haiti speaks for itself and the world needs to step up and help Haiti. It could have been us. We are doing what we can to help.”
That’s the same thing that was on Hammons’ mind when she put the donation effort together.
“I don’t know how God works, I don’t know his mind, but I know that I was meant to help,” Hammons said. “This eclipses 9/11 because they (the Haitians) are of African descent like we are. It’s just that they are over there and we are here. Haiti can raise like a phoenix from the ashes if everyone helps.”
She put out flyers asking for donations and had the initiative announced during Sunday worship services.
True to form, members began to help almost immediately. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, bottled water and baby wipes began pouring into the church.
“I am humbled by how generous people have been,” Hammons said.
She enlisted the help of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Clairton to help with the effort.
“It appears that we are our best selves in tragedy and we should be like this everyday,” said Rev. Judith Moore, pastor of First AME.
First AME parishioner Sharon Nelson agreed with Moore.
“It makes you feel good to help out with the cause. This is something that should have been done for Katrina victims, too” Nelson said.