CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.
—Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has joined the international call for assistance to Haiti and its people, and has called on residents to support relief efforts.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has been devastated by an earthquake that occurred on Jan. 12 which caused thousands of deaths and injuries and widespread destruction.

“Mercer County is home to many, many people from Haiti and, just as importantly, this County is home to residents who recognize and respond to tragedies when called upon,” said Hughes. “I ask that we all do what we can in the form of donations to the American Red Cross and other legitimate agencies.”

Hughes also asked that residents offer their thoughts and prayers for the missing, for the relatives of Haitian-Americans living in Mercer County, and for several central New Jersey church groups who traveled to Haiti just before the earthquake.

The best way Mercer County residents can contribute to the relief is by donating to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling 800-RED-CROSS. Donors can designate their gifts to Haiti relief.  Donations to the International Response Fund allow the American Red Cross to respond to global emergencies and disasters.

Priority needs in Haiti are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. The First Haitian Church of God located at 1501 Greenwood Avenue, Hamilton, will hold a supply and fund drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 16 and ask for donations of the following: cash; non-perishable foods; tents; personal hygiene products; candles; flashlights and batteries; and bottled water.

Mercer County is also supporting victims of the disaster by sending teams of mental health professionals to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, where some earthquake survivors from Central New Jersey are arriving from Haiti.

Hughes urged residents to use caution when donating. He said residents should ensure they do not fall prey to scams by donating to one of the following organizations:

- InterAction, a coalition of U.S.-based international non-governmental organizations, has a list of agencies responding and how to donate to them. Find it here: http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti 

- To donate $10 to the American Red Cross, text Haiti to 90999. The amount will be added to the user’s next phone bill. The organization is also accepting donations through its International Response Fund, http://www.redcross.org 

- To donate $5 to Wyclef Jean's Haitian Yele charity, text 501501. The money will be added to the user’s next phone bill.

- To find out how to help the International Rescue Committee, visit http://www.theIRC.org or call toll free, 1-877-REFUGEE.

- To donate through Oxfam's emergency appeal, visit http://www.oxfam.org.uk 

These links can also be found on Mercer County’s website, www.mercercounty.org.