Fulton students reach out to Haitian children

This event has been scheduled for weeks: Steve Arrowood, who is from Ham's Prairie and has volunteered in Haiti for 15 years, arrived Thursday at Bush Elementary in Fulton to collect nearly 20 boxes from fourth graders in Mrs. Harris' class.

The boxes are full of hygiene products, as well as small toys, originally for Haitian AIDS orphans.

It was the kids own idea to give to those less fortunate.

"It was very surprising. It brought tears to my eyes," Maureen Harris said. "I went home and told my husband, these kids are amazing."

Arrowood and about 30 others from "Global Compassion Ministries," a local charity, were set to leave for Haiti Sunday with the boxes to build a church in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. They have already built over 30 churches, schools and clinics in Haiti.

But that obviously has changed.

"I have a number of friends in Haiti that I'm concerned about," Arrowood said. "Some of them I've had contact with, but there are some that I don't know much about. I'm hoping that I'll hear a report."

Arrowood and his group do not know yet when they will be allowed to go to Haiti.

Their building project will now likely turn into a humanitarian effort, with these special boxes for children who survived the quake.

"These boxes contribute to a great effort," Arrowood said. "There's no way for them to understand, of course, how much it means to a Haitian child. But if you have nothing, something is a great gift."

Mrs. Harris said her students are aware of the earthquake and its devastation.

But, she said, they are able to see a positive amidst the rubble.

"I try to shield them and protect them from all the gory details about what happened, thinking that I know what's best and thinking I'm going to be teaching them. But in a way they've been able to teach me," Harris said.

"They've come back and said, "Hey, Mrs. Harris, this is good. There's an awareness now for Haiti and hey, these boxes have a greater purpose.'"

Many students brought in band-aids Thursday to add to their gift boxes as they see images of those injured in Haiti.

If you are interested in donating to their efforts in Haiti, you can email Steve Arrowood at Be sure to write Haiti in the email's subject line.