Heartfelt help for Haiti

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Every time Montevallo Elementary School second-grade student Tanijiah Summerlin sees television footage of the widespread devastation across southern Haiti, she is immediately filled with a servant’s spirit.

“I saw on TV a child who was hurt, and I wanted to help them,” Summerlin said. “I want to raise money so I can help the Haiti children so they don’t have to sleep in the streets.”

Summerlin and her classmates at Montevallo Elementary School have been part of a citywide effort in Montevallo to raise money to help those affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.

The elementary school students are holding a coin drive until Feb. 12 to benefit the American Red Cross, and are joining students at the middle and high schools in raising money for Haiti.

“One kid was taking a shower, and the roof fell on him,” said second-grader Micah Layton. “I just want to help them.”

“I want to help them so they can build things back the way they were,” said fourth-grader Christopher Perez.

Because many earthquake victims were children, the elementary school students said they feel a personal connection to those affected by the disaster.

“I want to help them rebuild the schools for the children,” Summerlin said. “I just want them to be like us and have what we have.

“If I was there, I would be screaming,” she added.

Elsewhere in the city, volunteers will be collecting donations for Haiti from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Montevallo merchants will have Haiti donation jars on their counters every day.

The Main Street Tavern will contribute 10 percent of its sales between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, and University of Montevallo students will be able to donate at a table set up in the university’s cafeteria. The Montevallo BankTrust and churches throughout the city will also be accepting donations to help the earthquake victims.

At the end of the month, all Haiti donations will be deposited into a benefit account at BankTrust and given to the American Red Cross.