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On the ground in Haiti

by admin February 2, 2010

The first shipment of goods donated by Concordia students will be going to Haiti this week. The two-week drive for clothes and food items was sorted on the seventh floor of the Hall building last weekend.

This first shipment will see 139 boxes and six large bags go to the Caribbean nation that was devastated following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12.
Sorting the items took longer than expected, said Concordia Student Union president Amine Dabchy. There were two main reasons for this.
“We didn’t have enough people working,” he said. Only five students showed up to help, despite emails calling for volunteers sent throughout last week.
“It was short notice, but it’s too bad.”
In an effort to get more people out, the CSU posted an advertisement on its Off-Campus Housing and Job Bank (HOJO) website, offering to pay students $10 per hour for their help. Nine people responded to that ad, and each was paid for five hours of work, Dabchy said.

One of the students who was tempted by the offer of cash was Erin Stokoe. “I found out about it on HOJO, yesterday,” she said Erin Stokoe. Admitting she was interested in the pay associated with helping, she said she would “probably still do it” even if she wasn’t making money.
Another reason the sorting took longer than expected was because of an abundance of unusable goods, like underwear, and torn or dirty clothing.
“I guess people just give whatever they have. They don’t always think,” Dabchy said. “But we couldn’t send that stuff.”

Ten large bags were filled with these unusable items, he said.
The Concordia-based relief effort for Haiti, which is a collaboration between the CSU and Ralliement Étudiant Haiti-Canada will continue until March.
On Feb. 4, some CSU executives and student volunteers will be outside on the corners of Mackay St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., and Bishop St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., collecting money. So far, 16 volunteers have confirmed their presence.
While Dabchy said he and his executives are overall “pretty pleased” with the response from students, he said he hopes the level of donations can be maintained.
“We hope the students continue to donate,” he said. “There’s a tendency for donations to pour in in the first couple of weeks after a disaster. But then it usually drops off.”

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