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Sarasota Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 5 years ago

SSAS launches Web site for Haiti relief effort

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

This week, students at Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences will get to do something normally prohibited during class — text.

Starting Thursday, Feb. 25, the school will launch, a Web site designed to raise money for ShelterBox, an international disaster-relief charity that provides shelter and supplies to families in need.

Following a short movie about ShelterBox and the organization’s work in Haiti, 670 students will view the Web site,, which features current updates on the situation in Haiti and accepts donations for ShelterBox.

Every student with a cell phone will then be asked to text the link to as many friends as they like, but must text at least three adults in their family. They will later be asked to e-mail the link to three adults, asking them to peruse the site and pass the link on to three more, creating a chain reaction.

The idea was that of SSAS Art Director David Carr.

“I felt that there’s plenty of medical supplies, food and blankets, but the real problem is long term,” Carr said. “There are hundreds of displaced people with nowhere to live, no sewage and no clean water. By May, the rains will be coming, and Haiti already has plenty of trouble with landslides. These people need shelter to alleviate this long-term problem.”

A ShelterBox costs $1,000 and supplies a family of up to 10 people with one tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless, with contents tailored to the nature and location of the disaster. Each box bears a unique number, allowing donors to track the box on its route to recipients via the Web site. To date, at least 7,000 ShelterBoxes have been distributed in Haiti.

Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].

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