Wear your Hope for Haiti

Article Published: Feb. 25, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Wear your Hope for Haiti

Red Cross Board Member Michael Darling sizes a Hope for Haiti T-shirt, available all over the High Country for $10.

Photo by Lauren Ohnesorge

The crisis in Haiti continues, as do assistance efforts in the High Country.

The tragedy is more than a wake-up call; it's given local leaders cause to step up.

"I've been waiting to do something, not only for Haiti, but also for Red Cross," High Country Red Cross (HCRC) board member Michael Darling said.

It's the biggest project he's spearheaded since joining the board almost two years ago.

"I didn't feel like I'd really found my niche yet... then this Hope for Haiti T-shirt campaign came up," he said.

HCRC teamed up with local T-shirt printing company, M-Prints, to create shirts to sell. Darling said $7.50 of the $10 cost goes directly to Red Cross efforts in Haiti.

Several area businesses, including Mast General Store and Footsloggers, are selling the shirts. Darling has personally sold more than 30.

It's been about a month, and overall sales are already estimated at more than 1,000 T-shirts.

"I thought about other ideas," he said. "You know the wristbands are really catchy, but when I looked at how much it was to actually make them and how much goes to Haiti, I'd have to sell 350 of them to equal the amount of T-shirts I've sold," he said.

Stuart Mangum at M-Prints is only happy to help. His graphics team designed the shirts. Reading about the devastation in earthquake-ravaged Haiti made it impossible not to act, he said.

"What would we be doing if this was in Hickory or Asheville? What would be doing right now? We would probably be there because it's close by," he said. "Well, we can't really go there because it's Haiti, but we can do this."

Mangum spearheaded a similar effort after 9-11 to raise money for the Red Cross.

A personal trainer by day, Darling has a client from Haiti and several Facebook friends that made events on the island personal.

"I saw them trying to communicate with their friends that they hadn't been able to contact... to see that interaction on Facebook... it was pretty touching, you know, just to see it up close and personal," he said. "Other disasters, I guess I haven't been in contact with somebody who has been directly affected."

For more ways to get your own T-shirt, contact the local chapter of the Red Cross at (282) 264-8226.

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