The Disaster Recovery Commission (DRC) of South Alabama Presbytery has offered to match contributions to Haiti earthquake relief by its member congregations up to $10,000.

“The DRC has decided to challenge our churches to give generously to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance,” said South Alabama Executive Samford Turner.

In a letter to South Alabama churches, Turner wrote: “The DRC encourages each church to give directly to PDA and then apprise the DRC of its giving and the DRC will match that gift until the $10,000 (committed to the challenge) has been gifted to PDA.”

PDA Coordinator Randy Ackley responded: “We in PDA are deeply moved by the sentiment and the implications of the letter from Samford Turner to the pastors in his presbytery ... committing the South Alabama Presbytery to match the first $10,000 raised by their churches.”

Turner also challenged other presbyteries “to do this or more.” The Rev. Betty Meadows, executive presbyter for Mid-Kentucky Presbytery and chair of the Association of Executive Presbyters, told the Presbyterian News Service that “there’s a lot of traffic [conversation} among presbytery execs around the country and many presbyteries are considering it.”

One presbytery, Long Island, has already accepted the challenge. “We have committed $7,500 in matching funds,”  Long Island interim executive Ellen Marquardt told the Presbyterian News Service Jan. 21. “My guess is they’ll do that and more.”

Marquardt said Long Island Presbytery, like most other governing bodies in the PC(USA), “is hurting financially but when a need of this magnitude comes up we come together to help.”

Other presbyteries had already launched fundraising appeals to support PDA’s relief efforts in Haiti, “but appreciate the idea,” Meadows said.

PDA is seeking to raise at least $500,000 for immediate relief and long-term recovery in Haiti, which was devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 100,000, injured at least that many more and left many of the island nation’s people homeless.

The greatest need continues to be money. More than $200,000 has already been sent from donations received since the quake and from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering receipts.
Contributions can be made in at least four ways:

  • Through local church channels
  • Online at the PDA Web site
  • By phone at (800) 872-3283, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) weekdays
  • By mail to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

Another way to help, PDA suggests, is by assembling “Gift of the Heart” kits for shipment and distribution to Haiti. Congregations and individuals can assembly hygiene kits and baby kits. Instructions are on the PDA Web site.