Earlier today, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss held a press conference at City Hall to address the earthquake in Haiti and to introduce Vermont organizations with ties to that country. Speaking at the event were representatives from Vermont's Congressional delegation, Kimball Butler of the Vermont Haiti Project, Pat Burns from City Market, Dave Fisher from Rutland-based Pure Water for the World, Peg Clement from ARD, Inc., Paul Macuga from Fletcher Allen Health Care and Robin Lloyd of Green Valley Media.
Butler, Clement and Fisher spoke about their organizations' ongoing efforts in Haiti and how their people on the ground have fared during the earthquake and its aftermath. Fisher said while his organization's water filtration plant was stable and was handing out its excess filters, the infrastructure is not available to continue making filters at this point.
Butler said she will be going to Haiti as soon as possible to "see what we can do to meet the needs of the people we work with." Her organization works with a number of community partners to provide clean drinking water and health care for Haitians around Port-au-Prince.
City Market is trying to do its part by donating 1 percent of sales on January 23 to their co-op partners working in Haiti. Burns also said the store would be working with the national co-op network to come up with more ways of helping in the coming months.
By the end of Friday, the city will have a clearinghouse of aid organizations on its website. Right now, Kiss said, people are urged to give money to the relief effort, rather than clothes or food. Vermont's Congressional delegation also has links to aid organizations and information on how to contribute on their respective websites.
Check back to Blurt in the coming days for more information on the relief effort and local connections to Haiti.