The events in Haiti may seem a world away, but there are many ways local residents can and are helping the people of the earthquake-devastated country.

Newton physician

Dr. Jennifer Scott Koontz, with Pinnacle Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics, left Jan. 20 for an eight-day trip to Haiti.

Koontz is traveling with physician group Heart to Heart International.

Newton Medical Center supplied Koontz with donated drugs and medications from its pharmacy and medical supplies from the shelves of its materials management department, Chief Operating Officer Mike Keller said.

“The supplies will make such a difference,” Koontz told hospital administrators. “I will definitely not be going empty-handed because of all of you, and I am so thankful for that!”

Koontz joined Pinnacle Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics (formerly Axtell Orthopedics) in 2009. The medical practice is part of Pinnacle Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics of Hutchinson.

Mennonite Central

Committee

In addition to donations of money, Mennonite Central Committee is asking the public to supply 20,000 relief kits, 10,000 heavy comforters and 10,000 sheets to be sent to Haitian earthquake survivors.

The regional office in North Newton is serving as one of the collection points for these supplies.

The supplies will help relieve the discomfort and suffering of Haitians who are sleeping on streets and in open areas because their homes are destroyed or because they don’t trust the safety of the buildings that remain.

Relief kits include personal hygiene supplies, laundry soap, towels and bandages. People who donate kits are asked to provide complete kits with only the specific items on the list of relief kit supplies that can be found at mcc.org/kits.

The relief kits can be packed in a box or bag and delivered to any of the drop-off locations in Canada or the United States listed at mcc.org/kits/dropofflocations by Feb. 28. This includes the MCC office at 121 E. 30th in North Newton. For more information, call 282-2720.

MCC will then repackage the kits in new, five-gallon buckets.

Heavy comforters and sheets also are being accepted at any drop-off location until Feb. 28.

MCC asks that the comforters be new and filled with quilt batting or a blanket for extra warmth. Twin-size comforters are preferred, but double/full-size comforters are accepted. Specific requirements are online at mcc.org/kits.

Flat sheets, which also will be used as mosquito netting, can be double-, queen- or king-size. Sheets, with at least a 300-thread count, should be new, cotton and light-colored, which is not as attractive to mosquitoes.

“MCC is grateful for the generous financial gifts that people have given to MCC for the people of Haiti, starting just hours after the 7.0 earthquake devastated the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” a news release stated.

Some of those funds already are at work in Haiti, being used to purchase food and supplies that are available there. MCC is airlifting 70,000 pounds of canned meat and 1,000 water filters into Haiti as soon as possible. Another shipment of at least the same amount of meat, probably more, will be sent by sea. MCC also is purchasing thousands of tents and tarps.

MCC is planning a multimillion dollar response during a number of years, focusing on rebuilding homes and livelihoods. It released an initial $100,000 for immediate relief.

Donations to MCC’s response in Haiti are welcome. They should be designated Haiti Earthquake. Donations can be made online at www.mcc.org or by telephone, toll free or (888) 563-4676. By mail, donations may be sent to MCC P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501.

Shoes for Haiti

Students at Santa Fe Middle School are collecting shoes new or used to send to Haiti through an organization out of Kansas City. The group has arranged for transportation for the shoes from here to Kansas City. The Kansas City group is asking for a $1 per pair donation to pay for the transport of the shoes to Haiti.

But shoes will be accepted without the donation.

For more information, call Santa Fe at 284-6270.

Salvation Army

An initial Salvation Army assessment team is on the ground in Haiti.

Once there, the team will liaison with Salvation Army personnel already on site in Haiti, where the Army has had a presence since 1950. As with all such relief efforts, The Salvation Army’s initial focus is to assess the immediate needs of the people affected by the earthquake, then utilize its resources to mobilize and ship food, water and other critical necessities to where they are most needed.

On the homefront, hundreds of volunteers worked Jan. 16 and 17 to prepare and package one million ready-to-eat meals at the El Dorado Convention Center in El Dorado to support Salvation Army relief efforts in Haiti. The meals, which consist of rice, soy protein, freeze-dried vegetable and vitamins and can be cooked in boiling water, come courtesy of Numana Inc. (www.numanainc.com).

The million meals will total more than 150,000 pounds once boxed. An additional 250,000 meals, also prepared by Numana Inc., are currently awaiting shipment from Des Moines, Iowa.

“We saw a devastating earthquake strike Haiti this week,” said Lt. Col. Dan Starrett, Executive Director of The Salvation Army World Services Office. “Now, donor generosity is striking back.”

The Salvation Army is also asking donors to assist relief efforts in a new way by texting “HAITI” to 52000 on their mobile phones. The text message will automatically provide a $10 donation to disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Donors can also give via www.salvationarmyusa.org, (800) SAL-ARMY and the mail at: The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728 with designation “Haiti Earthquake.” To date, The Salvation Army has raised $1.8 million to support ongoing disaster relief. The Salvation Army has committed more than $850,000 to support relief efforts in Haiti. The most pressing need right now is for monetary donations.

The Salvation Army operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children's homes and church-related activities through some 60 Corps community centers across the country.

For continued updates, visit www.blog.salvationarmyusa.org.

Dillons and the

Red Cross

In response to the tragedy in Haiti, Dillons Stores and the Red Cross have teamed to provide an easy way for customers and employees to make donations at Dillons locations.

Through Saturday, customers and employees will have the option to give a cash donation or round-up their order to nearest dollar at the register.

Red Cross Spokesman James Williams said the money raised will provide food, water and shelter for the Haitian people.

“The generosity of our customers and employees is truly remarkable,” said Shelia Lowrie, Dillons Stores spokeswoman, “Time and time again, our customers and employees step forward to help when disasters strike. Thanks to our partnership with the Red Cross, we all have an opportunity to reach out a hand to earthquake victims in Haiti who so desperately need our help. Every donation counts, and we thank our customers and associates for their support.”

People also can donate to the Red Cross online at www.dillons.com. Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 or mail checks to American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.