Groups gather donations to help hurricane victims in Haiti

Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI
Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — A local Haitian organization collected clothing, shoes, food and funds at a donation drive at the Church of God in Providence on Saturday.

“We’re happy we’ve been receiving a lot of stuff,” said Bernard Georges with New Bridges for Haitian Success, a local organization run out of Providence. The group plans to ship the items to Haiti and also travel there to help distribute donations to the right people.

Congressman Jim Langevin and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza were among those who attended the fundraiser.

Hurricane Matthew devastated the country when it hit on October 4, killing hundreds and leaving thousands with shelter, food or water.

“People are dying, suffering, they lost their homes,” Georges said. “Some places, people are still unable to located loved ones.”

New Bridges for Haitian Success teamed up with Dominican group Caritas Smile in Providence on Friday night to kick off fundraising efforts.

“Haiti, as you know, shares the same island as Dominican Republic. So when Matthew happened, our communities in the Dominican Republic were completely devastated,” said Sixcia Devine, the founder of Caritas Smile.

Haiti was still recovering from the 2010 earthquake when the hurricane hit, leaving an impoverished country in even worse shape than before.

“They’re still trying to recover from 2010, so when this tragedy happened there was nothing to do except to act,” Devine said.

Georges didn’t have an exact count of how many donations the group collected on Saturday, but said they are still in need of more donations including nonperishable food items like rice and beans. People can continue to drop off donations at 603 Elmwood Avenue or 608 Branch Avenue, or donate money online.