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Church men collecting hand tools for Haiti

June 02, 2010 - Just because Haiti's disappeared from the headlines and evening newscasts doesn't mean the impoverished Caribbean nation has recovered from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the island back in January.

There's still an incredible amount of work to be done and the Oxford United Methodist Men are lending a hand by collecting new and used hand tools to help the Haitians rebuild their homes and country.

"Haiti's obviously been hit very hard with the earthquake and the shortage of housing," said Gail Tolene, president of the Oxford United Methodist Men.

The men's group is collecting shovels, rakes, all types of hammers, mortar and concrete tools, hand saws, wheelbarrows, nail bars, wrecking bars, new nails and manual hand tools.

Collection sites include the Oxford United Methodist Church (21 E. Burdick St.), Oxford True Value Hardware (190 S. Washington St.) and Burdick Street Landscape Supply & Equipment (43 E. Burdick).

"We're going to be collecting through the end of July," Tolene said.

In order to help pay for shipping costs, donors are asked to contribute $1 with each tool. Excess funds will be used to purchase tools that are needed most.

So why collect tools and not just cash?

"Sometimes I think money gets lost in the mail, so to speak, either through distributors or middle men or whatever," Tolene said. "This program gets actual tools and hardware in the hands of men down there, so they can actually rebuild housing and have something to live in."

This local collection is part of the larger "Tool Relief Project: Haiti 2010" being led by the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Men, which includes men's organizations in nine states including Michigan.

For more information about the Oxford tool collection, call the church at (248) 628-1289.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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