1/15/2010 3:00:09 PM

Click here or image to watch the Press Conference

(White Plains, NY) --  Today, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Westchester County Board Vice-Chairman Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon), Legislators Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), Vito Pinto (D-Tuckahoe) and William Ryan (D-White Plains) were joined by Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino called upon all Westchester residents to do what they can to help in the international response effort to Tuesday’s deadly earthquake in Haiti.  “The thoughts and prayers of Westchester’s residents go out to the families directly affected by this tragedy,” said Chairman Jenkins. “As the immediate relief effort is underway in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, the Westchester County government is working with local community-based organizations, clergy leaders and caring residents from all parts of our county to identify needed resources.  As a county, we are more than ready to extend our help to the people of Haiti to the extent that we possibly can.” Government leaders were joined by local community stakeholders, clergy, business leaders and colleagues to outline various local community efforts in response to the disaster in Haiti. Westchester County is home to approximately 5,000 people of Haitian ancestry.  "Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and all of their loved ones everywhere, especially here in Westchester," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "As this tragedy has unfolded, people across Westchester have continued to ask, ’How can I help?’ Toward that end, we have posted information on the county’s website, Westchestergov.com, on how they can contribute to the relief effort. In the days ahead, we will monitor the situation closely to see what other ways we can help.” In terms of donation efforts, County leaders are urging residents that, for now, monetary donations are the best way to immediately get help to the region.  In the meantime, assessment teams are gathering information about what material goods are needed.  Although, not as greatly needed at this time, we urge the Westchester community to consolidate their efforts in gathering provisions like clothing and medical supplies. To coordinate donation efforts, please contact the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) at 703-276-1914.

“As the representative to the largest population of Haitian immigrants in Westchester, I am truly saddened by the catastrophe that has hit Haiti, causing the tremendous destruction of one of the jewels of the Caribbean,” said Vice-Chairman Williams. “It truly is a heart-wrenching tragedy in a nation that, as we all know, has had more than its share of hardship.  However, as we learn more about the devastation, many of us will be looking for ways to help.  At this point, the best way to help is through a financial donation. Unfortunately during times such as these there are some who try to talk advantage of the situation.  After September 11th, hundreds of bogus support efforts sprang up and thousands of people donated money to organizations that just pocketed what they collected.  The County has compiled a list of local relief efforts for concerned residents who wish to donate their time, finances or necessities in response to the tragedy.”  You can access this list below.

“We should all say an additional prayer for the many selfless Westchester residents who were volunteering their time in Haiti when the earthquake occurred, and for some, whose safety is not yet known,” said Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh).  “The response from ordinary citizens in the aftermath of this horrific tragedy has been awe-inspiring, especially here in Westchester.  I encourage all residents to reach out to one of the many international aid agencies currently on the ground in Haiti to ask how they may be able to help the rescue and relief effort. Westchester residents will do everything we can -- as soon as we can -- to help the people of Haiti recover."


ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVING NECESSITIES:

Yonkers: 

City Council Majority Leader Patricia McDow’s and Council Member Wilson Terrero’s office
Yonkers City Hall
40 South Broadway, Room 407
Contact: 914-377-6311

Assemblyman Mike Spano’s District Office
35 E. Grassy Sprain Road, #406B, Yonkers
Contact: 914-779-8805 

One Nation City of Praise Church
320 Walnut Street

Accepting: clothing and non perishable food items only

Lilly’s Beauty Salon
331 Walnut Street

Luis Auto Shop
150 School Street

Amigo Travel
314 New Main St

Life Cleaners
300 Nepperhan Ave

Clean City
244 Warburton Ave

Blue Hair Studio
140 Lake Ave


RESIDENTS WHO ARE TRYING TO LOCATE FAMILY IN HAITI:

For inquiries about loved ones, there is the hotline number -- (888) 407-4747 -- which can be used to find out information about U.S. Citizens.  To find out information about Haitian nationals, please call the Haitian Embassy in Washington, DC at 202-332-4090 or the New York Haitian Consulate at 212-697-9767.

Governor David Paterson has established an online registry of New York State citizens in Haiti at the time of Tuesday’s horrific earthquake. To access the online registry, go to the Governor’s website, www.ny.gov/governor/ and click on the New York State Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti. You will be asked to provide the name of the individuals you have not had contact with and provide some essential contact information. For those who do not have access to the web, the Governor has established a hotline – 1-888-769-7243 – staffed at the Department of Taxation and Finance. The information collected will not be used or shared for any purpose unrelated to locating and identifying family and friends in Haiti. 


COMMUNITY EVENTS AND SPECIAL FRENCH/CREOLE MASS:

Sunday, January 17 at 4:30pm
Sacred Heart Roman,
Catholic Church
115 Sharpe Blvd
Mt. Vernon, NY

For more information:
914-668-7440

Sunday, January 17 at 5:00pm
St. Gabriel’s Roman
Catholic Church
120 Division Street
New Rochelle, NY

For more information:
914-632-0211

Sunday, January 17 at 6:30pm
St. John the Evangelist Parish
148 Hamilton Avenue
White Plains, NY

For more information:
914-949-0439

Sunday, Jan. 17 at 4:00 pm
Hope for Haiti benefit concert
Mariandale Retreat and
Conference Center
299 North Highland Ave
Ossining, NY


 TEXT MESSAGE CAMPAIGNS:

Grammy Award-winning artist and producer and native-born Haitian activist Wyclef Jean’s foundation, Yele Haiti, has been accepting donations.  Text "Yele" to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill.

At this point in time, the American Red Cross is accepting monetary donations. You can text “HAITI” to “90999″ to make a $10 donation to be charged to your phone bill.


REPUTABLE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS FOR MONETARY DONATIONS:

Visit www.CHARITYNAVIGATOR.ORG or the www.guidestar.org for a database of non-profits and ratings of the best charities online. Here is a short list of reputable non-profit organizations that are accepting financial donations:

UNICEF
Haiti Earthquake Fund
(800) 4-UNICEF
www.unicef.org