Five tons of supplies collected in Vero already on the ground in Haiti

VERO BEACH — The food and supplies donated by hundreds of local residents this weekend at a collection point on U.S. 1 in Vero Beach have already reached Haitian earthquake victims. Another drive is planned for this weekend as efforts continue after a 6.1 magnitude aftershock rocked Haiti Wednesday morning.

Organizer Jon Pine estimates that 10,000 pounds of goods were collected and transported to Missionary Flights International in Ft. Pierce. Pine said he was very pleased with the outpouring of support from people all over Indian River County.

“We’re in a really unique situation being so close to them as they are just in Ft. Pierce,” Pine said. “They have two DC-3s and their flights are able to get in — where some others are turned away — because of their long-standing relationship with Haiti. MFI has been working in Haiti for many years.”

Often when supplies reach a disaster zone, there is a bottleneck in regard to distribution from ports or airports.

“MFI doesn’t have that problem because they work with hundreds of local organizations in Haiti. When the flights arrive there are people waiting for them to get the supplies out to the people who need them.”

Items collected include food — preferrably rice and beans which are a Haitian staple — hygiene supplies and first aid or medical supplies. Pine said bottled water is not being flown in by MFI at this time, as an organization called Samaritan’s Purse has been distributing water purification equipment so residents can use and drink the available water supply.

Plans are underway for another collection on Saturday, but the details have not been finalized. Anyone wishing to help, to volunteer at the collection point or to transport supplies to Ft. Pierce should call Jon Pine at (772) 539-2895.

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