Kansas Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church and Riverside Medical Supply, Inc. Organizing Haiti Relief Effort
(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) A local group of volunteers is collecting medical supplies desperately needed by residents of Haiti, and will travel there personally next month to make sure the supplies are delivered.
The group consists primarily of members of the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Riverside. For some of the group members, this will be their second trip to Haiti since the Jan. 12th earthquake.
The first trip to Haiti consisted of nine volunteers from varying professional disciplines: Nyron McLean, a residential and commercial mortgage broker residing in Riverside; Nirma Usher, a nurse practitioner residing in Riverside; J. Francis, a nurse practitioner; Cheri Dixon, a videographer residing in Loma Linda; Michelle Hibbler, a laboratory technician and phlebotomy instructor residing in Moreno Valley; Dr. Nicceta Davis, a physical therapist; Ernst Borno, a businessman; and two other businessmen residing in the Inland Empire.
The group went to Haiti from April 21st through April 28th, staying mainly in the capital city of Port-Au-Prince and Montrouis – a community about one hour away. On that trip, they worked with children in a Haitian orphanage, helped the sick and injured in a medical clinic, and gave previously collected supplies to displaced people in tent cities that sprung up after the massive earthquake that struck on Jan. 12th. The group also purchased and distributed bags of rice and beans to people living in the tent cities.
“There is a very significant need in Haiti,” said Nyron McLean, who organized the April trip and is currently organizing the June trip. “There are many places where the Red Cross and the United Nations have simply been unable to reach.”
In the tent cities, residents told this team that the only previous relief workers to visit them were from the United States Army, in February.
One of the greatest needs in Haiti is for medical supplies, McLean said. This group of volunteer relief workers will return to the medical clinic and tent cities which they visited in April. This time, however, they will have plenty of medical supplies because Riverside Medical Supply, Inc. has donated eight pallets of medical supplies to the relief effort.
Riverside Medical Supply, Inc. is a low-cost solution to affordable medical supplies with distribution locations in California and Illinois. Art Corrica, president and CEO of Riverside Medical Supply, Inc., wanted to donate these medical supplies to Haiti since learning of the earthquake, but had not found a group able to accept them. He and McLean have a mutual friend, Kevin Channer, who put them in touch with each other.
“Being able to help people less fortunate than we are is important to us at Riverside Medical Supply, Inc.” said Corrica. “And we appreciate Nyron’s determination to make sure the supplies get to the people who need them most.”
In addition to Riverside Medical Supply, Inc.’s donation, the community has supported the group by donating clothes, money, medical supplies, canned food and coloring books and crayons for children from as far away as Minnesota, McLean said.
The recipients in Haiti will be grateful for all of these supplies, said Dr. Nicceta Davis, head elder for Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church and a member of the team that traveled to Haiti in April.
“I saw an enormous amount of gratitude from the people of Haiti at the things people are doing for them,” she said. “But even though they were grateful, they seem to be almost paralyzed by the enormity of their problems, and the lack of resources.”
After receiving the donation of medical supplies from Riverside Medical Supply, Inc., the group from Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church will ship these and other donated items to Haiti. They’re sending the container via truck and rail to Miami, Florida. Then a ship will transport the container to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The items are expected to get there early-to-mid June.
That gives the team time to finalize their June mission trip to Haiti.
“We want to be at the harbor at Port-Au-Prince when the ship arrives,” McLean said. “Then we will take the supplies to where they are needed as fast as we can.”
This team hopes to make relief missions to Haiti every other month, McLean said. On future missions, they intend to bring more supplies, but also encourage any doctors, dentists, nurses or other health care workers to come along to provide their expertise. The team is also accepting financial donations to help them in their efforts. No amount is too small. A 25 kilogram (55 lbs.) bag of rice is about $30. $250 will send a child to school for a year including books, uniforms, and tuition.
The group would also like to send people to Haiti for more than a one-week mission, McLean said. Their goal is to send business people to Haiti, who can stay in the country, hire Haitians to assist them in their work, and train those Haitians to give them valuable skills that will lead to careers, new businesses, and a more sustainable economy for their nation.
The team members hope that by providing the Haitians with long-term solutions to their life needs, they will be able to give a new-found hope for the future to as many as possible.
“The Haitians have lived with a desperate situation for too long,” said Dr. Davis.
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering with the group’s humanitarian missions to Haiti is encouraged to call Nyron McLean at (714) 720-9354. Donations can be mailed to the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church, ATTN: Church Treasurer, 4491 Kansas Avenue, Riverside, CA 92517.
Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church is located in Riverside and was established in 1934. It now serves a congregation of over 1,500 members as well as many others through various community-based ministries.