Local News

Hurricane Mitch Hits Home for Volunteer's Family

Posted November 2, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— At least 7,000 people have died as a result of Hurricane Mitch. The president of Honduras is appealing to the world for help. A variety of initiatives are raising money, collecting supplies, and sending people to Central America to provide aid. A Raleigh woman has a daughter who is in the middle of the effort.

LeAnn Whitwood lost one daughter in the last year, and now her other daughter, Ginger Rhodes-Ryan of Raleigh, is in Nicaragua.

"She called last evening and spoke with her husband and indicated that it really was a trying ordeal," Whitwood said. "I'm sure that she's seeing things that none of us, or very few of us, have witnessed."

Rhodes-Ryan left for Central America last week with a Greensboro church group for a previously planned relief mission. Now the neo-natal clinician is dealing with more stories of hardship than she ever imagined, thanks to Hurricane Mitch.

"Due to the course of events," Whitwood explains, "the hurricane became very tragic. They had to more or less abort their mission and were in an area close to Managua, maybe in Managua, I am not sure. And they have been helping the medical people there with the people that have been injured from the hurricane, the flooding, the mudslides."

This trip is Ginger Rhodes-Ryan's first to Central America with this church group. Usually the group's trips last about 10 days. This one could last longer.

The Church World Services regional office in Durham is also doing its part to help by sending relief supplies and raising money to send medical teams to Central America.

"We have a quarter of a million dollar appeal going, and that's just a drop in the bucket when you look at the devastation down there," Church World Services Regional Director Joe Moran said. Other Donation Locations

  • Anyone who wants to send a donation to the Church World Services can call 1-800-762-0968.
  • To contribute through the Red Cross, you can call 1-800-HELP-NOW, or 800-257-7575 for Spanish speaking donors. You can alsodonate online.
  • There will also be a collection drive run by La Union Newspaper on Green Road in North Raleigh behind the Target store this Saturday and Sunday.
  • Passage for Peace will hold a gathering Sun. Nov. 8 at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Garrett Road in Durham, starting at 6:30 p.m. They will have a trailer ready for all kinds of consumer staple donations.
  • Donation boxes will be set up at numerous Latino stores across the Triangle.
  • To send contributions to the Honduran Embassy call 1-800-410-9608.
  • People can also drop off supplies/canned food at the Helping Hand Mission, 623 Rock Quarry Rd., or in Raleigh, call 829-4048

    A number of the organizations suggest sending cash, rather than staple items, because of delivery problems.