Shared from the 2016-10-12 Austin American Statesman eEdition

HURRICANE MATTHEW CENTRAL TEXAS RELIEF EFFORTS

Aid groups seek public’s help in relief for hurricane victims

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Travis Carnline (left) of the Hope Family Thrift Store, helps Sharon Brantley of the Westlake Young Men’s Service League on Tuesday unload donated items for victims of Hurricane Matthew. Donations are being taken at the store through Saturday. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

HOW TO HELP

• The Austin Disaster Relief Network will collect supplies through Saturday at Hope Family Thrift Store, 1122 E. 51st St. Clothing donations aren’t needed.

• To donate to Circle of Health International’s relief efforts in Haiti, visit www.cohintl.org and click the“Donate Now”button.

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Michael Gardner, operations coordinator with the Austin Disaster Relief Network, examines four pallets of canned water Tuesday at the Hope Family Thrift Store that will be sent to hurricane victims. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Central Texas aid groups are asking for the public’s help in sending aid to communities affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Last week, the hurricane killed hundreds of people in Haiti and the Caribbean before striking the southeastern coast of the United States, devastating parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, killing more than 20 people.

To aid in relief efforts, the Austin Disaster Relief Network is filling up an 18-wheeler with cleanup supplies and toiletries to send to people in Lumberton, N.C.

The Austin-based humanitarian group Circle of Health International is raising funds to help their partner organizations in Haiti and to stem the spread of cholera in communities with contaminated water.

Daniel Geraci, executive director of the Austin Disaster Relief Network, said the Austin area, which has experienced four severe natural disasters in the past 16 months with flooding and fires, understands the pain of those affected by Hurricane Matthew and is inclined to help.

“Weknowthesethingsbetterthan most cities in the last few years,” Geraci said. “We know the pain, hurt and trauma (natural disasters) bring. I think it’s a great opportunity to give back to others who may go through the same thing.”

The nonprofit is asking community members for donations of new undergarments, socks, toiletries, bed pillows, blankets and cleaning supplies. Items can be donated at the Hope Family Thrift Store at 1122 E. 51st St. through Saturday. The group will also donate several pallets of water to survivors in St. Augustine, Fla.

Circle of Health, which provides health care to women and children in crisis areas, will use donations to send its partners in Haiti pre-emptive materials such as medical supplies and medication to prevent the spread of cholera. The disease has killed more than 10,000 people in Haiti since 2010, when it was introduced into the country during relief efforts for a devastating earthquake that killed more than 100,000 people.

“Cholera negatively impacts anybody, but pregnant women, children and nursing moms are at added risk because their immune systems are not very strong compared to other people,” said Sera Bonds, executive director of the group, which has operated a birth center in Haiti since 2010.

The nonprofit also plans to sendmenstrualhealthhygiene kits, which aren’t included in relief efforts, that will be supplemented with cholera prevention kits. Circle of Health will send its donations to its partner groups Friday.

“At this point it’s pretty low,” Bonds said of the donation drive. “We’re hoping that this week, as the news of cholera rises above the fold, we’ll get more attention.”

Contact James Barragán at 512-445-3645. Twitter: @James_Barragan

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