Local church members, doctors head to Haiti

CONYERS -- More earthquake relief from Georgia is on its way to Haiti.

Two members of Crosspoint Christian Church in Conyers are scheduled to join a medical team en route to Haiti this morning.

Church office manager Alison Gaddis and children's minister Wendy Zehner are teaming up with 12 medical staff members from metro Atlanta to provide care for those injured in Haiti until at least Wednesday.

"We've heard it's pretty bad," said Gaddis, who was a medical assistant in Conyers for about 10 years.

She said they are expected to set up outside medical units to treat residents and others for wounds that haven't been treated yet and for other illnesses.

"They have patients everywhere," Gaddis said. "There is a need. How can you not go and help?"

The group making the trip to Haiti is doing so after raising about $8,000 locally and through efforts from the Haitian Christian Mission and Project Haiti Heart, organizations that are raising funds and awareness to help those in Haiti.

The church also teamed up with two area private schools, Young Americans Christian School and Woodlee's Christian Academy and other organizations that are raising money for Haiti relief organizations.

YACS students have started several fundraisers around the school's Conyers campus to raise funds for the Haitian Christian Mission.

Tracy Thompson, an 11th-grader from Conyers, put a giant soda bottle beside the school's soda and snack machines and encouraged his fellow classmates to Buy One, Give One -- each time a student purchases a soda or snack from the machines, he wants them to donate funds to feed or hydrate someone in Haiti.

Fellow 11th-grader Trevor McCoy is selling wristbands to students to collect funds and for students to remember those suffering in Haiti.

The school also is collecting hygiene items and other needed materials to ship to Haiti and will take up a special offering at its revival Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I'm really proud of the students," said school director Jan Taylor. "They are pretty much running it, and they are excited about it ... but raising money to help other people is not new for our school."

Students from Woodlee's Christian Academy in Covington are collecting funds for the General Board of Global Ministries through the Assemblies of God missions that will help children who are now orphaned or have needs as a result of the recent earthquake.

Principal Bobby Fleck said ever since Crosspoint came to the school to tell students how much the people of Haiti need help, the students have been creating posters and bringing in money to help support relief efforts.

"Our students have a chance to give back and support their brothers and sisters in the world who are in need," Fleck said. "(The students) were moved to give and help, even if it's in a little way."

YACS and Crosspoint also will team up starting at 8 a.m. Feb. 6 for a yard sale at the church, which is located at 4550 Ga. Highway 20 in Conyers. All proceeds will go to the Haitian Christian Mission.

Members from Crosspoint and other metro Atlanta groups hope to take additional trips to Haiti in March and October to help out even more, and they also will continue raising money indefinitely and encourage church members and other residents to keep thinking outside the box to raise more money and supplies for Haiti.

"We can't forget about these people," Gaddis said. "We've got to continue to support them. We can't let it die ... because they are still going to be there -- they're still in rubble."

Those who would like to donate funds to the cause can contact YACS at 770-760-7902 and Woodlee's at 770-788-2770. More information about donating to the Haitian Christian Mission is available at www.hcmsupport.org. More information about Project Haiti Heart is available at www.projecthaitiheart.org and GBGM is available at www.gbgm-umc.org.