Books for Haiti asking for help

Published Jan 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm (Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm)

As supporters of the New Testament Mission in La Croix, Haiti, a group from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair is seeking donations through Amazon.com to supply books for one of several schools associated with the mission.

When Darby Gallo began classes in the fall at Messiah College near Harrisburg, her mother, Jenny Gallo, took over for her daughter to carry on the effort to supply upwards of 14,000 books for use by the students in one of the schools.

Jenny Gallo, a former public school art teacher, consulted with Sarah Fetterman, a township librarian and a specialist in information science.

Fetterman, Jenny Gallo said, came up with a “wish list” of books that donors may purchase on Amazon.com and have shipped directly to Jenny Gallo’s Upper St. Clair Township home.

The books selected will be packed and delivered to Haiti when Jenny Gallo travels to the small island nation in February. Currently, the school library has 200 age- and culture-appropriate books with another 300 ready for the trip. That makes a total of 500 books, Jenny Gallo said. Many more are needed to equal the standard number of books for a kindergarten through 12th grade school in the United States. In the mission school in Haiti, there are more than 2,800 students. Following the American standard, the school in La Croix will need 14,000 books in all.

All a donor has to do is to go to the Amazon.com website, click on “Wish List” in the upper right corner. In the search engine box, type “Jenny Gallo” and choose New Testament Mission, Haiti.

Jenny Gallo said with Fetterman’s help, a list of about 500 book titles have been selected.

“We hope to be done in about five years,” Jenny Gallo said. “Then, we’ll move on to the next school.”

Selected books are in English, French, Spanish and a few in Haitian Creole. All were chosen to be specific to the culture and conditions in the poor country.

“Books about princesses mean nothing to them,” Jenny Gallo said.

She suggested checking with a tax expert to determine if the books through Amazon.com are tax deductible.

Another way to help the mission outreach is through a cash donation. Jenny Gallo said the school has offered the use of two rooms to be turned in to a library. Both are in need of renovations, but only one will be fitted for the books at this time, or at least until the first room is renovated and filled with books, she said.

Money is needed to help with providing electricity - mainly for a ceiling fan to help the air circulate to keep the books more viable - for a tile floor, special windows and to construct book shelves.

Checks may be made payable to Westminster Presbyterian Church, marked Haitian Library, and sent to the church at 2040 Washington Road, Pittsburgh 15241.

Teachers in Haiti use the books during classes and in the after-school English club. Eventually, Jenny Gallo said plans are for the library to open for all residents to use to expand their education, research and to contribute to their Christian values.

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