Local churches rally to help Haiti

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Several Birmingham-area churches are stepping in to provide relief to Haitians in the wake of Tuesday's devastating earthquake.

Most of the local churches we spoke to today have done mission work to Haiti,  and say they're being told that it is still too dangerous and uncertain to send people. Therefore,  they're collecting supplies and cash as a way to start sending help now.

Within hours of the earthquake in Haiti, Patti Eggers had a plea for donations on the frontpage of the Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church website because she knew that's where concerned Alabamians would turn to try and help.

"Short-term, for a lot of people it's where they know to plug-in," Eggers said. "So if somebody has another favorite agency that can help, that's great. But a lot of people look to their church organization to see how they can help."

Vestavia UMC is putting together healthcare kits to provide basic supplies.

"Primarily what we're doing at this point is assembling healthcare kits because when there's a disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti, people need basic items like toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, towel," Eggers said.

"We have a lot of friends down there, have been doing a lot of medical missions and construction missions down there, and right now we're pretty much on standby," said Dave Drachlis of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.

The diocese had a medical team already scheduled to leave for Haiti Saturday before the quake hit, now they have canceled the trip until they know what is needed. But they are collecting cash now to be ready to move when the opportunity comes.

"We're hearing there's more destruction than buildings that are standing," Drachlis said. "And we're very concerned of course about the people. The buildings can be replaced but it's the people and their lives we're most concerned about."

If you'd like to help, you can send donations to the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama at
Episcopal Diocese of Alabama

Haitian Relief
521 North 20th street
Birmingham, AL 35203

If you'd like to help the Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church relief efforts, you can go to their website at http://www.vhumc.org to find out how you can help.