Penn State Abington student loses family in Haiti earthquake

As many Americans across the country want to offer assistance in some way to the devastated country of Haiti, so do the students of Penn State Abington. Unlike most Americans, though, the students of Abington have a personal connection to the tragedy. One of their own, first-year student Joezer Antoine, lost his grandparents in the earthquake.

Antoine's grandparents helped to run a church/orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The church was heavily damaged and the orphanage was demolished. Luckily, all 38 orphans survived, but with no place to call home, they are sleeping outside in a field. Little aid has reached them.

The diverse groups of student clubs and individuals at Penn State Abington have joined forces in the name of helping the earthquake survivors in Haiti. Several fundraising events took place this week on campus, raising over $100 for the orphans. Many bags of clothing and toiletries also were collected.

According to sophomore Brianda Freistat, president of the student organization Community Outreach Workers, students are coming forward and looking to help.

"The students are asking for something. Service has become a passion for many on campus and I'm so glad we're able to provide this opportunity for everyone to join together and help. That's why I know this fundraiser will be a success," Freistat said.

Monetary donations, clothing and toiletries will be collected throughout the semester. Haiti bracelets also are being sold on campus for $2 each. All proceeds go to helping the orphans and survivors of the Equator Faith Mission Church run by Anotoine's family in Haiti. To buy a bracelet, make a donation or for more information, contact Marjory Apollon-Shields in room 206 Lares Building at 215-881-7529 or [email protected].

For information about relief efforts taking place across the Penn State community, visit online.