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Teachers, students gather aid for Haitian quake victims
West Hall High School junior Alannah Fanelli, left, 17, and sophomore Kelly Lingle, 15, make a donation for Haiti relief Wednesday between classes. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Haiti relief
Here are sites where bottled water, peanut butter, cereal, granola and protein bars, baby formula and blankets can be dropped off:
Greene Ford, 2365 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
The Rock Church, 5818 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch
The Rock Church, 607 Hulsey Road, Cleveland
Consign and Design Interiors, 5556 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch
Smokin Gold BBQ, 1724 Morrison Moore Parkway, Dahlonega

For more information, call Hal Lowder at 770-297-7694 or

Other relief efforts:
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
Red Cross
Salvation Army
United Nations
Doctors Without Borders

To look for more charities, go to Charity Navigator

When a devastating earthquake ravaged Haiti last week, Hall County teachers immediately incorporated the disaster into their lessons.

Deborah King began showing clips from CNN coverage of the quake to her Health Occupations, disaster emergency preparedness class. Chestatee Middle social studies teacher Buddy Earnest just happened to be teaching his students about Latin America.

But it was the students that decided to help, the teachers say.

On Wednesday, teenagers sat at a table outside West Hall High School’s cafeteria, soliciting donations and selling T-shirts other students had made to raise awareness about the disaster. Sixth-graders at Chestatee Middle were bringing in trash bags full of clothes for displaced families.

"It makes you realize ... compared to the world, our problems don’t seem so big," said West Hall junior Katherine Delgado, 17.

Delgado was one of about 90 students from several different classes at West Hall who organized a fundraising effort for earthquake relief in Haiti. While some students made PowerPoint presentations to educate their fellow students on how they could help, others printed T-shirts to sell, with proceeds going toward relief.

West Hall teacher Sam Borg left for Haiti on Wednesday with medical supplies and a team of doctors and nurses to help the victims of the two earthquakes. Borg, traveling with the local group Adventures in Missions, will take the supplies to the refugee camps on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic when he arrives.

The money the West Hall students collect for the rest of this week will be donated to Adventures in Missions, which will then put the money in an account for Borg to use to purchase diapers, formula "and anything else they might need," King said.

Elizabeth Gale, 16, said Borg’s trip made the Haitians’ suffering more personal to the high school sophomore, and made other students think that it was possible for them to help, too.

Sixth-graders at Chestatee Middle were familiarizing themselves with the geography of Latin America when the earthquake hit Haiti last week, Earnest said.

"It directly tied in with what we were talking about, and so, as I was reading it to them — I was reading them an article on Yahoo and then we watched some of the news things that have been coming out — and they were like, ‘well, can we do something to help?’" Earnest said. "... The very next day, there’s trash bags of clothes, and there’s canned goods and some bottled water — you know, it’s not a ton, but for these kids that have been hit up for a lot of things already and after the holidays, they’re being very generous with what they have."

At the end of the week, Earnest said he will take the items to Green Ford to eventually be sent to Haiti. But for now, events in Haiti have made the sixth-graders pay more attention to current events and aware of the suffering that’s going on elsewhere, Earnest said.

"I guess the biggest thing was realizing how close Haiti was to us and if it happened there could we start to feel some effects of it here at some point ... they’re just taking an interest in what’s going on," Earnest said. "Whereas before, it was just kind of like ‘if it doesn’t affect me, who cares.’ It just seems like they’re real conscious of these people and what they’re going through."

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