Help For Earthquake Victims In Haiti Still Pouring In

Mar 3, 2010 by Lamar Thames

In response to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, two Clay County, Fla., residents teamed up with The Relief Foundation and the Red Cross to rebuild a demolished orphanage that has left many children homeless in that country.

Brian Graham, the state chairman of the Florida young Republicans, and Clay County School board member Charlie Van Zant spent several days in Haiti last month rebuilding the orphanage. They arrived Feb. 19 and returned Feb. 22. They were joined by many political leaders, including the mayors of Miami and Coral Gables, as well as members of the state Legislature.

“I feel strongly that all of us should do what we can to make a difference in Haiti,” Graham said. “These types of efforts are critical in helping to rebuild following such devastation. We are hopeful that our time spent there will have an impact.”

The group expected to donate more than $100,000 in medical supplies, mattresses, clothing, food, water, tents and other aid to help support more than 100 orphans who have no place to live.

“There are so many people in dire need of assistance in Haiti,” said Van Zant. “I am proud to join this group to provide supplies, medical procedures and technical assistance to the Haitian people.”

Van Zant met with pastors in Haiti and helped survey several orphanages that his father, state Rep. Charles Van Zant, designed.  The elder Van Zant built numerous orphanages in Haiti that are still standing, but in need of structural surveying to ensure the safety of the children.

Several non-profit agencies joined the effort to help Haiti, including Project H.O.M.E. and Operation Clean the World. For more information on getting involved, contact Graham at