Local parents and their children from Ithaca’s Northern Lights Roots and Shoots, a global youth service program that teaches children the importance of making a difference, will be collecting tents and selling baked goods this weekend to contribute to the relief effort in Haiti.
The group is asking for lightweight tent models in good condition. They will accept tent donations on Friday from noon to 2p.m. at Greenstar, Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at 322 South Geneva St., and Sunday from 2 to 4p.m. at Greenstar.
Ithaca’s Roots and Shoots club is run through the Northern Lights Learning Center, a cooperative educational center for home-schooled children.
Claire Hope Fox, the co-leader of the club, said the group does collaborative projects with children that help people, animals, and the environment.
“It’s important to teach our children that we’re part of a world that cares for people and that there’s always something that can be done,” she said.
Bec Groves-Haley, co-leader of the club, said her father was in Haiti on a church mission trip when the earthquake hit, and the family went two days without contact.
“It was probably the longest two days of my life,” she said.
Fox said hearing about the earthquake devastated her 8-year old son, Felix, who is a member of the club.
“When we first found out what happened in Haiti I shared some pictures and told my son about it and he cried all morning,” she said
Felix said his reason for wanting to help Haiti was simple.
“We’re sending tents because all of the buildings fell down, and people are dying because they don’t have shelter,” he said.
Haley said that after getting into contact with her father, he told her the devastation he had witnessed in Haiti before flying home.
“I told him ‘Let me know what these people need, I want to help,’” she said. “[My father] said they really need tents and I said ‘Great, let me see what I can do.’”
The club then took action and decided they would collect tents as their next project to help provide temporary shelter. In the past, the local club has done such projects as baking pies for the needy on Thanksgiving and financing tree planting in Africa.
The club is going to ship the tents from Orlando, Fl. To reduce the cost of shipping the tents to Orlando from Ithaca, the co-leaders have found volunteeres who will drive the tents from Ithaca to Ohio, then from Ohio to Orlando.
Fox said the club’s projects help their children to feel that even in a disaster, everyone is capable of providing some assistance.
“When we developed this project, [Felix] felt really proud to be part of something that would make a difference, and it didn’t feel scary anymore,” she said. “He knew that he could help make it better.”
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