Riviera Beach, FL - Port Commissioner Wayne Richards is taking a leading role in Palm Beach County's response to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. At a mobilization meeting of community leaders on Friday, Richards described a two prong approach. First, Missionary Flights International will fly heath care professionals and skilled workers to the Dominican Republic. From there, they will be driven into Haiti to address the most urgent needs. Second, various commodities such as bottled water, snacks, peanut butter cereal, beans, rice, cooking oil, towels blankets, pots and pans, batteries, flashlights, garbage bags and personal hygiene products will be collected for transport to Haiti.
At this time, clothing in not included in the collection effort. Richards
asked, "everyone to do what they could to aid this worthy effort by bringing items to the various collection points and assured everyone that the items will get the needy in Haiti."
SmartBox, a portable storage container service, with a location in Riviera Beach will distribute "smartbox" containers to participating fire stations and other locations over the weekend. When filled, SmartBox will bring the containers to the Port of Palm Beach where the items will be unloaded and repacked in larger ocean-going containers which will be shipped to Haiti by Monarch Shipping Co. Ltd./Teeters Agency and Stevedoring. Cindy Lou Teeters, Executive Vice .President, said "Teeters has donated the labor and costs of loading these ships."
Two ships, the Monarch Queen and the Monarch Empress will deliver the supplies to the ports of Gonaives and St Marc. Teeters is a long-time Port tenant and has shipped a wide variety of merchandise between Haiti and the Port of Palm Beach for over twenty years.
Port Chairman Blair Ciklin praised the Palm Beach County response to this disaster and noted that "this tragedy has truly brought everyone together. The Port will do everything it can to assist this worthy effort."
The first ship is expected to be sent to Haiti in about three weeks.
Anyone interested in volunteering to sort and pack these items should contact the Port of Palm Beach District by E-mail at Haitianrelief@portofpalmbeach.com or they may call 561-383-4186.