Shipping relief to Haiti leaves some donors frustrated

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by GARY REAVES / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 26, 2010 at 8:38 PM

DALLAS — In the warehouse of Medisend, a North Dallas non-profit agency, volunteers from the telecom company ESI and the Strasberger law firm, are packing boxes bound for Haiti.

They are preparing pallets loaded with surgical masks, exam gloves, syringes and more.

Meanwhile, glued to the news at his home in Plano, Leo Montgomery knows the Haitians have other needs, too.

"I actually read articles of senior citizens that hadn't had their diapers changed for two weeks," he said.

So Montgomery started collecting needed items from neighbors, including diapers, baby food and clothes.

But what he can’t find is a way to ship it all to Haiti.

"You want to help out and do what you can, because you know how important time is and you know how badly its needed," said a frustrated Montgomery.

Haiti needs goods that are prepackaged for forklifts and easy to ship. Loose goods like the ones Montgomery helped collect create their own problems.

"If they're not on a pallet, that means they can’t be loaded onto a pallet jack and put onto a truck," explained American Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster. "And if they can’t be put onto a truck, they can’t be taken to the airport to load on to a plane."

 

The Red Cross says people need to know where goods will go before they start to collect them.

Since Medisend is in the business of shipping medical goods to underdeveloped countries, shipping to Haiti is no problem.

"All of these will be put on the back of a truck and they'll be shipped down to Miami," said Medisend's Nick Hallack, who thanked American Airlines for supplying the air freight for much of the Haiti relief.

Eventually, Haiti may be able to accept Leo Montgomey's collection — but when is anybody's guess.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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