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Community rallies to help Haiti

Local assist in sorting, boxing, readying supplies

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Residents came to the Creative Art Space for Kids location on Atlantic Avenue in Lynbrook last Saturday to help sort and pack the many donated items of clothing, food, and necessary items that will be shipped.

“We wanted to do something to help,” said Lynbrook resident Lisa Cantelli, who came with her teenaged daughter, Valentina. “We saw the article last week in the Herald, asking people to come and get sorts things for shipment. We’ve been wanting to do something locally.

Owner Carlo Thertus, who is Haitian, spoke highly of his brother, Hansy Thomas, who is in Haiti, awaiting the first shipment of goods from The Haiti Relief Fund, headquartered in Lynbrook. Thomas, who owns an import-export business, Tropic Shells, in Port-au-Prince, is one of the few in Haiti whose business is still standing, and because of the nature of his business, also has the means to accept and distribute relief supplies. Since his Port-au-Prince factory warehouse was spared, the structure will be used as a relief headquarters. 

Thertus said that the donated items to be shipped will be set up in the warehouse in Haiti, with Thomas overseeing the operations. Items will be laid out “Salvation Army-style,” he said, so those in need can come to the warehouse and choose the items they need — they can shop, he said — but for free.

Thomas lost the family home when the 7.0 earthquake hit, but his business, "Tropic Shells" was spared. Now, working from both countries through the Haitian Relief Fund, which was set up years before the earthquake, the brothers have arranged containers of goods to be sent from Lynbrook to Haiti, where Thomas will accept the first of a number of shipments.

Many local residents and business owners have already contributed -- but much is still needed. For more information, call (516) 578-1258 or 578-0603.

Comments about this story? MMalloy@liherald.com or (516) 569-4000 ext. 202.