ALBANY -- The devastation of Haiti by an earthquake that hit a seven magnitude on the Richter scale last month brought out the generosity of the Baptist community.
"We have raised $22,000 for Mission Change to put food directly into the hands of those in need in Haiti," said the Rev. Daniel Simmons, chairman of the Haiti relief effort by 15 Baptist congregations in Albany and the surrounding counties.
The joint effort under the auspices of the Albany Baptist Minister's Conference also donated $3,600 and 75 pints of blood to the American Red Cross Southwest Georgia Chapter. The congregation members raised the money and donated the blood during a two-week period.
"It will also put medical supplies into the hands of local physicians and other medical personnel from the Albany area who are serving in (Haiti) clinics," Simmons said. "The food will go to the people in the rural areas affected by the earthquake."
The news of the donations was received with gratitude by David Blackwell, mission project coordinator at Mission Change.
"We have enough food for 27 flights to Haiti," Blackwell said. "This donation will help with fuel costs to get the food to the people."
The Mission Change Web site, missionchange.com, stated that its relief efforts were being focused on the outlying areas where people flee from Port-au-Prince, near the earthquake epicenter, to seek medical attention.
"To date, over 23,000 pounds of supplies have been flown in and 35 evacuees flown out. All monetary donations will go toward purchasing fuel for the volunteer's planes," the Web site stated. "It is costing around $1,500 per round trip per plane and they do not want to get to the point of having planes, pilots and supplies sitting on the tarmac in Nassau (on the way to or from Haiti) with no funds to purchase fuel."
The donations came at a time when churches and many in the congregations were reeling from the effects of the economic recession.
"Despite our churches own financial difficulties in the ever changing economy, the members of this conference have gone to their churches and raised money to be donated to the earthquake-stricken people of Haiti, said H.C. Wilson, president of the conference.
"We are delighted at the generosity of our church members for giving from their hearts to this cause," Wilson added.
The Mission Change Web site has details on donating to Haiti earthquake relief.