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Toronto Reaches Out To Haiti

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Toronto reaches out to Haiti

Toronto reaches out to Haiti - thestar.com

From pyjama fundraisers to first aid kits, volunteers rally to help earthquake victims


Whatever it takes.

That's the unofficial rally call of Torontonians mobilizing in droves to support victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Scores of grassroots organizations and countless thousands of individuals across the GTA are pitching in, selflessly donating time and money.

Wednesday, students at public schools across the city are taking part in a PJ Day, donating what they can to wear their fuzzy slippers and fleece to classes in support of the Red Cross or Free the Children.

Within 48 hours of the earthquake, "United Sikhs were in Haiti, where volunteers set up set up a base camp and community kitchen in Port-au-Prince," said Ramandeep Kaur. A group from Toronto, including her father, Sarvinder Singh Pandher, landed Saturday and are distributing food, water and blankets and medical help. They're manning a traditional Sikh langar, or community kitchen, set up to feed more than 5,000 people a day.

The volunteers paid their own way, bringing pots, pans and utensils donated by Brampton's Jot Prakash Gurdwara and tents and storage units from Brar Tent House. American Airlines waived baggage weight restrictions, Kaur said. After flying into the Dominican Republic, the volunteers brought everything into Port-au-Prince on rented trucks and purchased more food en route. A fourth team is heading to Haiti Wednesday.

In addition to cash donations, Mennonite Central Committee Ontario is appealing for 10,000 bed sheets and supplies for 20,000 relief kits containing basic sanitary supplies needed by Haitians surviving on the street, such as soap and bandages, said communications coordinator Anne Brubacher. For a list of items needed to fill a kit, visit the MCC website at www.mcc.org/kits, or call 1-800-313-6226.

Kits can be dropped off at Toronto United Mennonite Church, 1774 Queen St. E., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; at Tyndale University College and Seminary, 25 Ballyconnor Court in North York; or at the Care and Share MCC Thrift Shop, 6240 Main St., Stouffville. Cash donations may also be made at Ten Thousand Villages stores.

Here's what some other groups are doing:

  • Many grocery and retail chains are asking shoppers to add a little to their bill and support the cause.
  • Another medical aid team from United Jewish Appeal landed in Haiti Saturday. So far, $515,000 has been raised by the UJA of Greater Toronto's Hope for Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. Donate at www.ujadonations.com/haiti or call 416-631-5705.
  • Members of Core Yoga and Pilates Studio on Queen St. W., donated more than $1,000 in three hours during Saturday's classes dedicated to Haiti relief.
  • A Twitter group is organizing an event, HaiHaiTo. Go to HaiHaiTO.com for details.
 

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