Generous south Mississippians pay it forward to help Haiti - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Generous south Mississippians pay it forward to help Haiti

Rusty Bothe presented a $2,260 check to the Red Cross from Hancock Bank employees. Rusty Bothe presented a $2,260 check to the Red Cross from Hancock Bank employees.
Harrison Co. Supervisor Windy Swetman helps man the phone bank during Good Morning Mississippi. Harrison Co. Supervisor Windy Swetman helps man the phone bank during Good Morning Mississippi.
WLOX General Manager David Vincent talks about the station's partnership with the Red Cross. WLOX General Manager David Vincent talks about the station's partnership with the Red Cross.

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – WLOX's Broadcasters for Haiti Telethon kicked-off Monday on Good Morning Mississippi, and the calls started coming in as early as 5 a.m.

"Apparently early risers are generous people," said Paige Roberts with the American Red Cross.

By midday, the donations reached to a whopping $18,600.

"I'm ready to cry actually, because it's so overwhelming," said Roberts.  "I heard there were only 55 employees at First Federal, but they were able to give $2,100. Really?  In this bad economy?"

The stories behind the donations are especially touching. For instance, some homeless people pooled their change and gave $25 to the cause.  And students at Pass Road Elementary and Bayou View Elementary Schools in Gulfport also raised money during a recent Saints pep rally. The money will help millions of Haiti's earthquake survivors.

"We received $1,502 from the children of these schools.  That is absolutely awesome!" anchor Rhonda Weidner announced during the live broadcast.

"I felt really sorry for the people in Haiti," said third grader Thicat Vu.

"It's going to help the people of Haiti, so they can buy food and water for them to survive," said another third grader Alden Callahan.

Numerous volunteers, including Congressman Gene Taylor, gave of their time to man the phone lines.

"It's great that people on the receiving end of other people's generosity just a few years ago are now doing something good for other people, so I want to be a part of that," said Rep. Taylor.

"I always knew that the people in south Mississippi are generous. Today just reaffirms that," said WLOX General Manager David Vincent.  "We had so much help after Katrina with the Red Cross coming in providing meals and actually providing some money.  So it's just a good way to pay it forward."

Along with the live telethon, the American Red Cross also held a blood drive and fish bowl collection at Edgewater Mall. By the end of the telethon broadcast, south Mississippians had generously donated $58,357 to the Red Cross.

If you'd like to give, but missed Monday's fundraising efforts, you still have several options. Donate online right now thru www.redcross.org or the MS Gulf Coast chapter's website http://www.redcross-msgc.org/

Or donate from your mobile phone by texting "HAITI" to "90999". Every text will provide $10 to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts. Still not sure about giving this way? Check out the most Frequently Asked Questions about mobile giving.

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