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TRC Blog

January 13 , 2010

North Texas businesses plan Haiti relief efforts

by Bill Hethcock Staff writer

North Texas businesses are gathering relief supplies and taking other measures to help respond to Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

Fort Worth's Alcon Laboratories is working with Project Hope, Americares, Direct Relief International and Heart to Heart to assist with the relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake, Alcon spokeswoman Melissa Mota said.

Alcon is donating eye care supplies to treat eye infections or injuries caused by debris and dust, she said. The products include tear replacement and lubricant eye drops and ophthalmic ointments and antibiotics.

"Our corporate giving team is working diligently with these other organizations to ensure products are sent to the Haiti community so that their needs are met as quickly as possible," Mota wrote in an e-mail.

Leisa Barger, senior vice president of The Retail Connection, said the Dallas-based retail real estate firm is collecting relief items including clothes and shoes to send to Haiti this week. The firm is also encouraging employees to contribute money directly to relief efforts through a service that allows them to chip in $10 by sending a text message from their cell phones.

"Lots of major organizations around Dallas are rallying as we speak to try to figure out how best to help," Barger said.

Dallas-based AT&T launched an initiative Wednesday allowing wireless customers to text donations for earthquake victims in Haiti to the Red Cross using their AT&T mobile devices.

Wireless customers of AT&T can send $10 donations to the Red Cross International Relief Fund by typing the word HAITI and sending it to 90999 via text message from their mobile device. Standard text messaging rates may apply.

A confirmation message will arrive, to which the customer replies “yes” to finalize the donation. Donations appear as a line-item on the customer’s bill.

All money donated will be passed on to the Red Cross. Funds raised through the program go to the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to the thousands of victims in Haiti.

“AT&T is pleased to be a participating carrier in this program,” Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said in a prepared statement. “In addition to the generosity of its subscribers, AT&T has donated $200,000 this year to the American Red Cross for emergency relief as part of a five-year, $1 million commitment.”

In addition, the AT&T Foundation is providing a $50,000 donation to Télécoms Sans Frontières to support their relief work on disasters in Haiti and around the globe. The France-based international humanitarian organization specializes in emergency telecommunications.

Télécoms Sans Frontières has deployed an emergency team from their American base in Managua to provide support for emergency telecommunications in Haiti.

In the past, Hillwood, the developer of the massive Alliance area in Tarrant and Denton counties, has allowed aid organizations to use some of its vacant industrial space to collect, organize and distribute relief supplies, Hillwood spokesman David Pelletier said. He said he has not yet received any similar requests for space related to the Haiti relief effort.

If your North Texas business is contributing to the Haiti relief effort, please e-mail Dallas Business Journal Web reporter Kerri Panchuk at

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