The children at Pablo Casals Middle School in Co-op City thought they were helping an important cause when they rushed to bring in donations for survivors of the catastrophic Haiti earthquake that happened on January 12.
But three months later, everything they brought in: medical supplies, canned foods and clothing, is still sitting on the floor of their school’s gym.
But the intervention of Assemblyman Michael Benedetto will soon change that.
“I’ve called the Red Cross, the Haitian consulate. None of these people seem to pick up stuff for Haiti,” noted assistant principal Nelson Medina, who was bewildered at the difficulty the school has had finding someone to pick up their donations.
The school called the Haitian Consulate of New York, which told them that due to damage from the quake, the port at which such goods would be dropped had been destroyed and was not rebuilt yet.
That made sense to Medina at first, but soon enough, weeks had gone by.
He called again at the end of January and was given a new line of reasoning for why the school’s donations could not be picked up yet: the country wasn’t accepting shipments of anything other than strictly medical supplies. Anything else would have to come later.
“But now, at this point, what could the excuse be?” wondered Medina. “We’ve had that stuff since the day after the quake, and we’re not the only ones. I’ve heard that other schools in the Bronx are waiting too. You would think that with so much need, they would need the support.”
Assemblyman Benedetto’s staff is in the process of scheduling a day this week for pickup of the half truckload of goods. Soon, finally, these donations will make their way to Haiti.
Reach reporter Daniel Roberts at (718) 742-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org