Local organizations hold vigils for earthquake victims

RALEIGH Members of the Hope for Haiti Foundation spent Wednesday evening talking about the disaster and praying for the people who lives have been devastated.

Each in the group has taken missions trips to Haiti and personally knows someone impacted by the deadly earthquake.

"I haven't heard cousins, hundreds of cousins I have in Haiti," said Jean Eloi with Hope for Haiti Foundation.

Memeber Katherine Ward last traveled to Haiti two years ago to help deliver vaccines and other medical and education supplies to villagers in Zorange.

"Your heart goes out to them," she said. "You just get a cold chill thinking about what's really happening down there."

She and others say they feel a burden to call for others to step up in this time of need.

"The kids, they sleep on the ground there, they sleep in the worst situations possible and all you think of is the little that they did have it's all in ruins now," Ward said. "In my heart, the spirit of Haiti lives, the spirit of Haiti will survive."

Dozens of college students from Duke and NC Central also bowed their heads in prayer Wednesday evening in a vigil for the Haitian victims.

Many say they have family members in the disaster zone.

Duke student Natasha Gordon says she is not sure how her family is doing.

She says her aunts and uncles have two homes and a school where they house and educate homeless children.

"Honestly I felt guilty," she said. "Not that I had any choice in not being there. I can't say that they're safe or even alive or if there's anyone there to help them. It's a humbling experience."

Fellow Duke student Isabelle Figaro just returned from Haiti four days ago. She says she spent her Christmas break there staying with extended family.

Her aunt and niece got caught up in the massive earthquake, but they are doing well.

Meanwhile, a Fayetteville church will have to put its mission trip to Haiti on hold, because of the massive quake.

But members of the First Presbyterian Church came together Wednesday to pray for those they want to help.

"I feel more compelled than ever to be involved to do something to help, I feel helpless here," Mission Trip Member Dr. Chris Aul said.

Aul is one of 16 doctors, nurses and pharmacists going this year, along with more than a dozen other members who helped rebuild homes and churches in Haiti.

The pastor says as soon as he can get clearance and new travel plans the mission team will head out.

"When we are in Haiti, some of the older people will come up to us hold our hands, embrace us and they always say these words, please don't forget us," Coker said.

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