“He (Jean Claude) was looking at pictures of Haiti on the TV and he saw Gilda (his sister) in the crowd,” said Carine Blot, Jean Claude’s wife. “She was covered in a sheet and standing in front of the Presidential Palace. She was hard to see, but he knew it was her.”
Two days later the Haitian native was on a plane to the ravaged country, prayerful he would be able to locate his sister and her 2-year-old son. While he initially spoke with his sister upon arriving in Santiago – en route to Port-au-Prince – Jean Claude has not since been able to make contact.
“She (Gilda) no longer has her cell phone, so Jean Claude can’t talk to her,” said Carine. “She did tell him that they have been moving around (to different camps) because of the smell of the decomposing bodies, but she doesn’t know where she is because she cannot recognize anything – nothing looks the same.”
Sadly, since arriving in Haiti, Jean Claude has learned of other relatives affected by the 7.0 temblor, and the news has been bleak.
“He found out that his mother’s brother, who is a judge in Haiti, is missing, and he has also lost a cousin and all four of his cousin’s children (in the quake),” said Carine. “I also have family over there that I’m waiting to hear about; it’s a little overwhelming.”
In an effort to channel some of that worry into a more positive energy, Carine has begun organizing relief efforts here at home. Over the next few weeks – and continuing as long as needed – Carine will be collecting clothing for children in Haiti. Supported by Adams Middle School and Heritage High (both schools that her children attend) as well as Grace Bible Fellowship in Antioch, donations of new and gently used items for children of all ages will be gathered and sent to Haiti.
“We’ve just been so worried about everyone over there, especially the children, that I thought ‘what can we do here to help in the long term?’” said Carine. “I can’t go over there myself right now and help, but my kids and family wanted to support the effort. I know that monetary donations are coming in, so we decided to get clothes and shoes and other items together.”
Details of the drive are still being worked out – stocking collection bins at schools and possibly other locales – but Carine hopes it will be up and running in the next few days.
“We’re just getting started so I don’t have all the information yet, but we want to do this as quickly and as locally as we can,” she said. “I’ve already had a lot of offers of help, which is great. That’s what I love about Brentwood: this is a community that comes out and helps. Something good always comes out of this town.”
For additional information on the children’s clothing drive, or for ways to help, call Carine at 925-325-8232 or Darlene Daniels at 925-783-3487.