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Churches scramble to assist with relief
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Forsyth County News
How to help

Donations for Haitian relief efforts can be made online through the following Web sites.

• St. Brendan’s Catholic Community Church,

• Cumming First United Methodist Church,

• The American Red Cros,



* Sisters seek help for native Haiti.

Kat Doyle cried when she heard about the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that leveled southern Haiti.

“I had just been there and I made all these friends,” said the parish life director at St. Brendan’s Catholic Community Church in Cumming. “I thought, ‘Where are they, are they OK?’

“It was so much more real when you know the people that are there and when I saw it on television, I just sat there in tears ... it’s hard enough for them to live day to day the way things were, but now I knew it was just going to be devastation.”

After offering some prayers, Doyle started rallying the church’s membership to support the country through their Haiti Outreach ministry.

The ministry’s Web site is set up to accept donations, 100 percent of which will go toward bringing relief and supplies to the millions affected by the devastation Tuesday.

The money goes to Catholic Relief Services. The organization has 300 staff members who were in Haiti during the earthquake.

During November, Doyle did mission work with St. Brendan’s sister church in Haiti, Our Lady of Fatima Bassin Zim.

“Right now, the biggest thing we can do as a group, as a church, as a community, as a nation -- is pray," she said. "Come together, pray and offer whatever financial assistance we can."

Members of St. Brendan’s have a personal connection to Haiti, but several other churches in Forsyth County are also offering relief.

John Cromartie, senior minister at Cumming First United Methodist, said his church is collecting funds for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR.

“They get on the ground immediately and start providing aid," he said. "They are on the ground in Haiti already. The need there is just overwhelming.”

The death toll from the earthquake, which struck near the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, has been estimated at 140,000 people.

President Barack Obama said the disaster has directly affected as many as 3 million people, including tens of thousands of American citizens.

The president committed U.S. money to relief efforts, but encouraged people to donate to the American Red Cross.

Donations to the Red Cross can be made via cell phone by text messaging “haiti” to 90999. A $10 donation will be charged to the donor’s next cell phone bill.

Within the first 36 hours, the text message donations raised more than $3 million.

Within the first 48 hours, the Red Cross received nearly $35 million in donations, $10 million of which has been released for aid.

Doyle said the money the church is raising will go toward all relief efforts.

“They need medical personnel, they need people who are trained for disaster relief,” she said. “The time for mission teams will come later.

“The good news is we’re hearing stories about people coming together in the streets and singing and praying ... how wonderful to know that after all of this, they haven’t lost their faith.”