Nearly two tons of locally donated goods for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti are expected to reach their destination soon.
While other disaster relief organizations are experiencing logistical difficulties in getting donations to earthquake victims, the Las Vegas Haitian Disaster Relief Committee is trying to avoid that. It is working with a local trucking company to make the cross-country drive to Miami today. From there, the goods will be shipped and flown to Haiti by local Florida and Bahamian contacts.
Catholic Charities and Food for the Poor are two of a handful of organizations on the ground in Port-au-Prince that will be welcoming the dozens of pallets of water, baby supplies, clothing and canned food.
On Wednesday, the group loaded a 53-foot semitractor-trailer with goods as another truck sat half-loaded at First Baptist Church, 4400 W. Oakey Blvd., west of Arville Street. One truck is scheduled to reach Miami on Saturday.
The trucks will make the runs as long as there are items to deliver, said Todd Koren, president and CEO of Absolute Exhibits, a local trade exhibit company donating drivers to help move the goods to their final destination.
"They were halfway there, but they just needed to fill that gap," Koren said of the committee. "We were happy to be that missing link for them."
The transports were donated by Tim Brennan of GE Trailer Leasing and Ryder Truck Rental and Leasing, Koren said.
Kenson Desinor, who heads the committee, said he plans to fly to the Dominican Republic this week with enough medical supplies for 500 people and to check on family members of local Haitians. He and his wife will truck the supplies across the border into Port-au-Prince, where upwards of 3 million people need help.
"One way or another, we'll get everything down there," said Desinor, who is a trained medic.
The group will continue collecting items at First Baptist Church throughout next week. Donations to the local relief committee fill more than half of the 5,500-square-foot warehouse, which was donated by Precision Construction Inc.
Las Vegas Planning Commissioner Byron Goynes worked with Stephen Quinn, who owns Precision Construction, in the collaborative effort to deliver goods to Haiti.
"My heart just went out to them," Goynes said. "Our main concern is that these items get there. We don't want this to stop in Miami and never make it over. We want to firm up our contacts and make sure these items get over there from the Las Vegas Haitian community."
Contact Kristi Jourdan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0279.