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VSU plans drive for Haitian relief


 Over a week has passed since an earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The United States and Valdosta have answered the call for help.
 Friday VSU will hold a food drive from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the baseball field house parking lot located on N. Patterson Street. Bagged rice and beans along with bottled water will be collected and sent to Haiti.
 Dr. Melissa Rinehart, assistant professor of anthropology and organizer of the drive, says that VSU has answered the call for help.
 “The outpouring we’ve received from students, support staff, faculty and the greater community has been overwhelming,” Rinehart said. “I had donations in my office just two hours after my ‘idea’ went public.”
 Rinehart is not alone in her pursuit to help.
 “My department has been supportive, the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice,” Rinehart said. “Other departmental support includes the Athletics Department, Event Services and Printing Services. Individuals from various student organizations have offered their help including two fraternities, a sorority, and members of the baseball team.”
 The Modern and Classical language department is also collecting money for the American Red Cross. Donations can be brought to West Hall 128. For more information call Patricia Stone at 229-333-5948.
 Students are encouraged to participate in any way they can.
 “While I agree that money is the preferred donation right now, I also recognize that students have limited incomes and making monetary donations may be difficult for some,” Rinehart said. “A bag of beans and rice and bottled water are inexpensive here, but these staples are currently worth a great deal to Haitians.”
 The American Red Cross and Second Harvest will also be present at the drive to help with donations. Without the help of these groups and the Valdosta community, this drive would not have been possible.
 “Organizing this relief effort would not have been possible without the help of Frank Richards at Second Harvest,” Rinehart said. “His 17 years of experience in relief work at the food bank was key to getting this effort launched.  I also appreciate the support of the American Red Cross and area churches who have more than answered the call for Haitians.”
 For more information on the food drive please contact Dr. Rinehart at marinehart@valdosta.edu or call 229-249-4975.

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