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By Christie L. Chicoine
The CS&T Staff Writer

A kindergartener at St. Bridget School in the East Falls section of Philadelphia donated the $5 he recently received from the Tooth Fairy to earthquake relief efforts for Haiti.

“I’m going to give it to Haiti to help the kids,” said 5-year-old Taron Stokes. If he could, Taron would also buy the Haitian children clothes and shoes, among other things, he said.

Young Taron was responding to the Jan. 12 earthquake that has claimed more than 150,000 lives and left 3 million injured or displaced in the Caribbean nation’s capital and largest city, Port-au-Prince.

St. Bridget School, which has 206 students in pre-school through eighth grades, raised $767.93 for relief efforts in one day, according to the principal, Susan Canio.

A collection to aid relief efforts in Haiti was taken up in churches across the Philadelphia Archdiocese at Masses Jan. 23-24.

All funds donated by parishioners will be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community.

In conjunction with the 267 parishes of the Archdiocese, students at the archdiocesan Catholic schools, including St. Bridget, have been taking up collections for the relief efforts, which will also be sent to CRS.

St. Hilary of Poitiers School in Rydal, Montgomery County, sponsored a Hope for Haiti Day Jan. 22, which raised more than $600 for the cause. Students and St. Hilary parishioners began the day praying the rosary for the earthquake victims and relief workers. The students contributed donations to dress in red and blue, the student council sponsored a bake sale and additional contributions were collected at the Father-Daughter Dance that evening.

Final figures for the CRS collection from the all archdiocesan parishes and schools were not yet available, but an official at CRS’ Northeast Regional Office in Radnor predicted the collections would substantially help CRS in its efforts to service the people of Haiti.

“The generosity of the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been, and continues to be, overwhelming,” said Maureen McCullough, CRS’ regional director in Radnor.

“This is a situation that is not going to be solved in the short term,” she added of the earthquake’s aftermath. “We know that the ongoing support and what will be raised from this collection and in the future will help the people of Haiti not only today, but tomorrow and for years to come.”

At this time financial assistance is the most effective way to continue to help CRS help Haiti, McCullough said. “People’s hearts are moved by this,” she said.

St. Athanasius-Immaculate Conception School in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia will hold a Hoops for Haiti basketball game at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at the school at 7105 Limekiln Pike in Philadelphia. The boys’ junior varsity team will compete against the girls’ junior varsity team. All ticket sales will be sent to CRS.

A Mass for all affected by the Haiti earthquake will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at Incarnation of Our Lord Church in North Philadelphia. Refreshments will follow in the school gymnasium.

Lansdale Catholic High School in Lansdale, Montgomery County, has canceled its annual St. Valentine’s Day dance and instead will host a skit and talent show to benefit CRS relief efforts in Haiti.

“Taking a Bow for Haiti” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, in the Lansdale High gymnasium. In addition to a nominal admission fee, cash donations for CRS will be accepted at the door.

For more information, contact the student affairs office at Lansdale Catholic at 215-362-6160, extension 126.

For more information about the Catholic Relief Services’ collection, including how to donate to CRS online, visit www.crs.org or call 1-877-HELP CRS (1-877-435-7277).

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or cchicoin@adphila.org.