E.B. resident organizes large shipment to Haiti
BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer
EAST BRUNSWICK — As she watched TV newscasts showing the bodies of Haitian earthquake victims alongside the rubble of Port-au-Prince, Lucy Aita knew she had to do something.
Aita had lost her fiancé, Paul Innella, 33, of East Brunswick, in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, and she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the sight of collapsed buildings.
Aita decided she had to help the victims of this latest disaster, and through an e-mail chain she began coordinating donations of food, water, medical supplies and clothing for the earthquake victims. This resulted in a truckload of items picked up Monday by the Mercy Center, Asbury Park, which will have them shipped to Haiti.
According to Aita, at least 200 people responded with donations. While she thought she might collect 40-50 boxes of items, the number was in excess of 100 boxes and 50 garbage bags full of materials. These included 700 bottles of water, 400 cans of food, 10,000 items of clothing, shoes, towels and sheets, and medical supplies such as alcohol, bandages and antiseptics. There were so many items that Aita’s garage could not hold them all, so her neighbor, Anita Varshney, who also aided the effort, stored many in her garage.
Among the organizations donating were the Sri Sathya Sai Baba centers in Edison and East Brunswick. Venkat Kannepalli, who coordinated the donations for the Edison chapter of the spiritual organization, said his group collected 75 boxes of items, which took nine people to load for delivery to Aita’s house. All of the goods were collected within 18 hours of receiving the e-mail, he said. The organizer for the East Brunswick chapter, Ramesh Gulrajani, said donors went to Hamilton to buy toiletries for men and women and put them in ziplock bags. He said volunteers Rewo Nawani and Mia Matovic helped coordinate the donations.
Aita’s boyfriend, Charles Macagnone, is the grand knight of the St. Ambrose Knights of Columbus, Old Bridge, and his group collected 15 bags for the Haitian relief effort.
Soledad Marcelus of Asbury Park, whose family founded the Laurence Georgette Lizaire Foundation in memory of their grandmother, worked with the Mercy Center in the effort. Her grandmother, who died in 1997, was from Haiti and regularly sent supplies to her native country, according to Marcelus. After her death, her children and grandchildren formed the foundation to continue her legacy.
Marcelus said the group is working with Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst to have the donations shipped.
Filed under: Earthquake Haiti Catastrophe, Haiti Earthquake, Haiti Earthquake 2010, Haiti Earthquake Aid, Haiti Earthquake Picture, Haiti Earthquake Relief, Haiti News, Haiti Palace, sathya sai baba, World News | Tagged: Catastrophe, Charity, Donate, Donations, Earth Quake, Earthquake, Haiti, Haiti Donations, Haiti Relief, Kindness, Love, Port au Prince, Pray, Prayer, Volunteer |