Hygiene kits going to Haiti
• Photo gallery: Haiti aid kits
A handful of students enrolled in the Susannah Wesley Community Center's alternative learning program got a life lesson yesterday in caring and compassion.
The seven students spent about an hour helping pack personal hygiene kits for survivors of the Jan. 12 magnitude-7.0 earthquake that left Haiti in ruins and killed an estimated 200,000 people or more.
The students joined 10 staff and five board members in stuffing zip-top plastic bags with emergency health supplies.
Sonya Chung-Hirano, center development officer, said nearly 40 staff and board members raised about $800 to buy supplies for the kits.
Each kit contains a hand towel, washcloth, comb, nail file or fingernail clippers, bar of soap, toothbrush and six adhesive plastic strip bandages in various sizes.
At the end of the bag-stuffing frenzy held in one of the classrooms at the center on Kaili Street in Kalihi , the group had met its goal of 120 of the emergency kits.
Members of a Methodist church women's group will pack an additional lot of the kits on Feb. 20, before the combined load is shipped off to a church distribution center in Salt Lake City.
From there, the bulk of the kits are expected to find their way to Haiti.
The center's alternative education program gives high school dropouts "a second chance," said Kekoa Tassill, an instructor in the program.
The alternative learning program focuses on health, consumer economics, government and the law, community resources and occupational knowledge.
Those who complete the program and meet other requirements are awarded a diploma from Farrington High School.
"They are allowed to walk in the Farrington graduation ceremony and we also have a ceremony of our own here at the center," Tassill said.
Students spent several class sessions reviewing news clippings about the Haiti earthquake and talking about ways to help the victims, Tassill said.
Of the 40 students in the program, the seven who showed up yesterday gave up an hour of their own time to help out, since classes were not in session.
Chung-Hirano said the health kits are part of a global relief effort by the United Methodist Church.
"We really wanted to give something back to the community and this was a good way for us to give back," Chung-Hirano said.