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South county offers help for quake victims

Over the past few years, homeowners stood helpless as their equity crumbled away like unreinforced concrete during an earthquake.

Still, the trauma of a dwindling real estate portfolio pales in comparison to finding your home or business reduced to rubble in a few seconds, especially when friends and family members may have been killed by a catastrophic force of nature.

Survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti are finding that, despite the economic crisis facing most Americans, people are reaching beyond personal financial concerns and sharing what they have with those who are in greater need.



As I dropped off my son at Cottage Hill Elementary School last week, members of the Parents’ Club were standing out in the cold morning air (OK, cold by California standards; my car’s thermometer read 34 degrees), the parent club members were collecting change at the curbside from drivers delivering students to school.

The signs read “Help for Haiti,” and I later discovered that the money is to be sent to a 150-child orphanage outside of Port-au-Prince called the Boussole Foundation.




According to Julie Barnum, parent volunteer and mother of an adopted child herself, the orphanage still does not have enough food because relief trucks coming from the city always run out of supplies before reaching the Boussole orphans.

The parents group collected $110 the first day, and they plan to be out again this morning.

“Cookies for Haiti” was written on another sign I saw last week. Shannon Hatch, a Lake of the Pines mother and co-president of the Cottage Hill Parents Club, decided that a worthwhile afterschool activity for her children would be to bake cookies to sell in exchange for donations for the Haitian victims.

Siblings Maddy Hatch, 11, Braden, 9, and Gracie, 7, set up a sugar cookie station on Torrey Pines Road to interest drivers in the baked goods as they drove by.

In the few minutes I visited with the Hatch family, several more LOP residents served the larger global community by throwing down cash for a cookie or two.

Mrs. Phelps and her sixth-grade class at Magnolia Intermediate School also worked hard last week at a fund-raising venture they called “Helping Hands for Haiti.” Scores of colorful hands decorated the Magnolia campus, many of them from student donors who gave up some of their lunch money so others would not go hungry.

This was the third class project of the year for the sixth-grade students, all aimed at helping those less fortunate than themselves. Mrs. Phelps believed they had raised about $100 for the Red Cross Haiti relief fund so far.

Laura Lavelle’s column is for southern Nevada County residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at lavelle@cebridge.net or leave a message at (530) 477-4230.


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