Thinking Haiti, but working here

PHILADELPHIA. “It’s inconceivable that we would celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of reaching out to the most vulnerable and not focus on devastation left in Haiti,” said lead organizer Todd Bernstein.
The 3,000 volunteers taking part in the region’s signature event at Girard College will be urged at the opening ceremony to donate $10 through text messages.

“I’ve gotten calls where people are asking what to give and the thing they must give is money,” Bernstein said. “Experts on the ground in Haiti need money to purchase necessary equipment.”

Millions of dollars have poured in to large charities since an earthquake knocked Haiti to the ground last Tuesday, but those aid groups are still grappling with the problem of turning the money into relief on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Increasing violence in the streets among the starving and thirsty who didn’t perish have combined with blocked roads and crippled ports to make the logistics of a relief effort stifling.

“We have planes loaded with supplies and ready to land, but due to damage and overcrowding at the one-runway airport in Port-au-Prince, many flights have been diverted,” the Red Cross said in an e-mail this weekend. “While the airport is operational for humanitarian flights, there is a huge backlog.

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