Hoboken to Haiti

Residents need your donated food, items to help earthquake victims

Geisha Mojica was so saddened by images of the ravished Caribbean nation of Haiti that she wanted to put college on hold to go help. Her mother, Evelyn Lopez, wouldn’t allow it.
Not just because of college, but because Lopez thought heading into the devastation might be unhealthy. However, she helped her daughter set up a donation drive at 311 Harrison St. in the Harrison Gardens Community Room, and now their makeshift crew needs the help of the community.
The group is collecting clothes, canned foods, and water until Thursday, Jan. 28, when the Red Cross of Northern New Jersey will come to pick up the stacks and stacks of boxes. Donations can be dropped off at the community room between 5 and 9 p.m.


Already, Mojica has filled over 50 boxes of clothes and food.

“As soon as I saw the earthquake I knew I had to do something,” Mojica said. She hopes all of the residents of Hoboken, not just the Housing Authority tenants, do what they can to make their relief effort a success. Already, Mojica has filled over 50 boxes of clothes and food with the help of her family, friends, and other volunteers.
For more information about the drive, call Lopez at (201) 737-0544, or contact the Hoboken Housing Authority at (201) 798-7765.

College can wait

Mojica has always wanted to participate in humanitarian efforts like this, but, “You always have to be 18 for those things.” Even though she made the age cutoff this time, she respected her mother’s wishes.
Her sisters, Yesenia Vega and Tanya Narine, said wanting to help people in need is a trait passed down from their mother. Lopez, a resident of the Housing Authority for 27 years, started making phone calls right after she talked her daughter out of going to Haiti.
“I called [Housing Authority Executive Director] Carmelo [Garcia], and he said, ‘Whatever I can do to help.’ Then I called Arlette [Braxton, president of the Tenants Association,] and she said it was a great idea,” Lopez said.
Braxton added, “You always see the bad things that come out of public housing. Here you have a young girl who dedicated her whole week, handing out flyers [for the collection drive] all over, Washington Street, Hudson Street. She was willing to put college on the backburner to help these people out.”
Once Mojica and her family got the ball rolling, other local residents like Christine Rippel, Julio Dones, George Morales, and Ramona Braxton donated their time packing boxes and organizing the donations.
Mojica graduated from Hoboken High School last year and kicked off her college career at Hudson Community College last week.
She is pursuing a career in the visual arts and hopes to be a filmmaker and photographer, possibly working in animation. But for now, she has only one thing on her mind: help Haiti.

Concert and more

Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced the city initiative “Hoboken for Haiti” last week, which will include a benefit concert and possibly a restaurant night.
Cultural Affairs Coordinator Geri Fallo has set up a benefit concert at Maxwell’s, 11th and Washington streets, on Sunday, Jan. 31 that will include some local bands, including Glenn Mercer, lead singer of The Feelies.
Fallo said doors will open at 6 p.m. and there will be a suggested $10 donation at the door.
The city is also working with restaurant owners, including Mario Steriti, owner of 10th and Willow, to organize a door collection at several restaurants for a future date.
The collected funds will be donated to the President’s Relief Fund, according to city spokesperson Daniel Bryan.
For more information, check visit hobokennj.org, or call (201) 420-2207.

Shops collect for catastrophe

A handful of local businesses have already raised more than $750 by donating a portion of their sales and they will be turning over the funds to the Red Cross soon.
Rory Chadwick, proprietor of Midtown Authentic, a used handbag shop on Fifth Street, started the relief effort – also called “Hoboken for Haiti,” but predating the city’s initiative – and has the help of a few local businesses like Jesse James, 503 Washington St.; Big Fun Toys, 602 Washington St.; and Michelangela, 330 Washington St.
Chadwick is conducting “round two” of the effort this week and is hoping to collect $20,000 in total.

School donation mix-up

The Hoboken High School Student Council rethought a $5,000 donation that was previously announced in the press, according to Interim Superintendent Peter Carter, but the students are eager to contribute otherwise and will be conducting their own fundraiser for Haiti soon.
According to Carter, a school audit recently uncovered an old student fund account labeled “relief” and, following the devastation in Haiti, he called a meeting of the Student Council to make them aware of the funds. He also asked them to make a donation of $5,000, roughly half of the account, to the relief efforts.
The Student Council voted in favor of the donation as Carter stood before them, but later called another meeting to rescind the action after they “rethought” the donation, according to Carter.
Some sources said the students were initially intimidated by Carter, by no fault of his own, but rather just because of his weighty recommendation and presence in the room during the vote.
Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at tcarroll@hudsonreporter.com.

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