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Published January 22 2010

‘Every little bit can help’: Local students pitching in for Haiti relief efforts

It’s just a penny.

But for third-graders in Susan Clark’s class, a penny drive is a big way for the Fargo kids to make a difference, however small, for people in Haiti.

“Every little bit can help,” the Fargo Lewis and Clark Elementary School teacher said. “Even if it’s just a penny ... that’s something.”

Many Fargo and West Fargo students are emptying their piggybanks and reaching into their wallets this week to help Haiti relief efforts after the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince was devastated by last week’s earthquake.

And for Haitian students here, such as Sandra Cornet, it means a lot.

The Fargo North High School senior is still anxiously waiting to hear if relatives in Haiti are alive.

“It’s terrifying to see,” she said of images from the country where she lived until moving to Fargo five years ago. “I don’t know if they’re all OK.”

She has heard from her mother and grandmother, who remain in Port-au-Prince after attending a family wedding.

Cornet said they’re safe for now, sleeping in the streets for fear of aftershocks. They’re expected to return to Fargo on Monday.

The 17-year-old said she takes comfort in what the F-M community is doing to help her homeland.

“Everyone here is great,” Cornet said. “I’m really happy they’re trying to help Haiti.”

At Lewis and Clark Elementary, the weeklong schoolwide penny drive, which goes to the American Red Cross’ Haiti relief efforts, ends today.

Other local school efforts to help Haiti include:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515