January 27, 2010
10-017

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Community Responds Generously to Haitian Relief Drive

VALDOSTA -- More than 11,500 lbs of rice, beans and bottled water are being transported to Miami and will soon be loaded onto a ship bound for Haiti, courtesy of the State Department and generous donations from local community members.

The shipment is only a third of the approximate 17 tons that Valdosta State University's Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice amassed during the food drive held last Friday, Jan. 22. Anthropology Professor Dr. Melissa Rinehart spearheaded the effort to collect bags of rice and beans and bottled water for use by victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Students joined the cause as well, with added assistance from America's Second Harvest and the American Red Cross.

"The outpouring from the community was wonderful," said Rinehart, who conceived Friday's event while driving to work one morning. "I had hoped to fill one truck and we filled three. We will be able to feed a lot of people with these donations."

Rinehart said contributions came in spurts during the eight-hour collection at VSU's baseball field house parking lot with participation from VSU faculty, staff and students, and local community members.

Although the department is no longer accepting food and water donation, many organizations are continuously accepting monetary gifts. View a comprehensive list of agencies currently helping with the Haiti relief effort by visiting the GuideStar Web site at http://www2.guidestar.org/rxg/give-to-charity/haitian-relief-efforts.aspx .