Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
March 12, 2001
Nanton responds to El Salvador earthquake
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
NANTON — There are times when people from diverse backgrounds come together like a virtual company because they cannot ignore the crying of God's children for help and healing. The recent earthquake in El Salvador that left over 100,000 people homeless is one such occasion.
On Jan. 30, Larry MacKillop of Nanton, went to retrieve his e-mail messages. A message from the Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist, Independence, Mo., tugged at his heartstrings.
He read the following simple message on the web: "Over 100,000 homeless. The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist located at 2100 N. Nolan Road, Independence, Mo., 64050, phone 252-1673 offer to receive goods and to help fill two containers for the homeless of El Salvador.
"We are only accepting the following items which are scarce and not easily available for purchase in the country: Blankets, canvas tarps - for makeshift tents, heavy plastic good quality for makeshift tents."
MacKillop immediately contacted Diane Wilson who owns an iron works company with her husband and manages the thrift store in Nanton.
MacKillop refers to Wilson as "the quintessential scrounger." As she admits herself, "I have trouble throwing anything away."
The "Iron Lady" just happened to be saving a ton of strong plastic used to wrap lumber.
In MacKillop's liaison with the sisters in Missouri, he was told the plastic would be ideal for roofs as an immediate shelter.
Wilson says, "I can feel the desperate hopelessness that the people of El Salvador are feeling in this disaster."
She continues, "We live in a land which is very prosperous so it should be easy for us to help those in great need."
Wilson and MacKillop were not connected with any aid agency in their endeavour. But many people helped, especially in meeting deadlines - the ton of plastic had to be in Missouri by Feb. 15 for shipment to El Salvador. It was transported through the generosity of Mullen Trucking of Aldersyde.
Sister Andrea Kantner of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist is one of the main organizers of this relief effort.
She expressed surprise at how these events came about: "We do not have sisters in El Salvador. Our main focus is the rain forest of the Amazon. However, we do have a warehouse on our property and we offered to help by storing goods until they could be sent to El Salvador."
Kantner said the Internet helped bring diverse people together for the project.
"My fellow sisters are amazed at the response and help as we work with people of all ages wrapping the articles for shipment. We met new friends from all over the U.S. and now Canada, who reached out in a very caring fashion to make this possible.
"As we speak, a 40-foot container is being loaded to be shipped to the Gulf of Mexico to be placed on a banana boat for the last leg of its journey to El Salvador."
MacKillop says: "We're somewhat amazed at how this came together and how it seemed so easy. It clearly shows us that we have to act on the cry for help whenever it comes."
MacKillop praises the Internet for enabling individuals to act immediately - "I believe there is a whole untapped territory of people with no specific affiliations who can organize together like a virtual company through the Internet and act quickly to respond to crisis situations."
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