New York jumps to Haiti's aid in creative, humble ways
New Yorkers are hatching creative ways to help the stricken nation of Haiti, spurred by heartbreaking images of the earthquake’s aftermath.
The efforts are as diverse as they are humble, and many reflect the increasing power of social networking.
Derrick Smith, 22, of the Bronx, routinely uses his silver Honda Coupe to pick up clothes for donations.
Now focused on Haiti, he has already loaded six bags of donated clothes into his trunk. Getting the word out on Twitter, Smith was confident he’d have 30 bags before the weekend is through.
“An outfit that we haven’t worn in years can be a life-changing outfit for someone else,” said Smith, a model and motivational speaker.
Fashion is familiar to Michael Nicholas, the 27-year-old owner of the Brooklyn Sky store in Flatbush. He has designed a T-shirt that reads “Haiti Relief,” and will donate 100 percent of sales proceeds to Haiti -- something made possible with funds fronted by neighbors and friends.
“We just got it done,” said Nicholas of the collaborative effort.
Dozié Uzoma, a Rutgers graduate student who was among the first to post on Facebook that Red Cross was accepting donations by text, has made it his business to convey well-researched and legitimate ways to help. He posted quickly and continuously on Facebook groups’ sites, seeking to root out misinformation.
“A lot of people posted on their news feeds, saying we should pray” for Haitian victims, said Uzoma, 23. “It’s great to pray, but we should also know how to donate.”
Uzoma wants to organize a spring break trip to Haiti to help rebuild its infrastructure. Relief efforts shouldn’t end after a couple weeks, he said.
Others efforts include:
* The Upright Citizens Brigade theater troupe in midtown teamed up with Mercy Corps to plan two shows Jan. 31 with all proceeds going to relief efforts.
* Forgotten Children of Haiti, headquartered in Jamaica, was seeking to collect supplies for Haiti and build a community coalition called OnePeopleOneHaiti.
* East Village restaurant Knife + Fork planned to donate 20 percent of every customer’s bill on Jan. 20 to Haiti.
* Cosmestic dentist Laura Torrado’s midtown offices Thursday began donating 10 percent of some services to Haiti if new patients mention “Haiti Relief” until March 1.