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Residents answer call for Sri Lankan relief

Residents answer call for Sri Lankan relief

By Amy H. Mullis – The Union-Recorder
Thank you cards were mailed Monday to the 37 individuals who have collectively donated more than $7,000 to the Sri Lanka Disaster Relief Fund.

Jordi Bohannon, 11, worked Monday to address the postcards and said she felt good to be able to support the cause by letting those who donated money know they are appreciated.

\”Whoever can help deserves to get a thank you,\” said Jordi, daughter of Jeff and Ashley Bohannon, adding that of the information she has gathered about the disaster, she knows the money will definitely help the people suffering from the devastation. \”I feel better that I\’m doing something and helping them.\”

Jordi is a sixth-grade student at Georgia Military College and hopes to get involved with community service work at her school soon.

Murali Thirumal, who opened the relief fund, agreed that the people who have donated deserve many thanks.

\”I\’m not surprised about the generosity of this community,\” he said, adding that what has surprised him is the vast coverage area from which donations are being made. Along with contributions from Macon, Warner Robins and Gray, Thirumal said a donation was made from someone living in New York.

\”I\’m absolutely thrilled to see the support,\” he said, adding he is very pleased but not surprised by the outpouring of local donations. \”I\’m pleasantly surprised on one hand, but on the other hand I have to say that I know that this community has always come through and always will.\”

Plans on how to best serve those in Sri Lanka with the aid money has changed, Thirumal said after speaking with some of his friends in the stricken country.

Originally, he reported that he and others involved would be using churches, temples and other religious entities to distribute the money to the poorest of the poor in the areas affected by the tsunami.

Now, the money will be used to purchase the tools of one of the most popular trades in the region: fishing.

\”We are going to use this money as start-up costs for primarily fishermen,\” Thirumal said. \”Money will supplement them for a few days, but then they\’re back at square one. The proceeds to the fund should be focused on buying things for fishermen… and getting their lives started back.\”

He said to save shipping charges, the items to be donated to Sri Lankan fishermen will be purchased in their country.

According to Thirumal, it\’s important to him and friends to see the money get to the regions of the country that need it the most but are not receiving as much media attention.

He said these people are those in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. Thirumal said the people there have already been distraught by civil war and are in serious need of all the support they can get.

Donations can be dropped by the bank or mailed to Century Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 768, Milledgeville, GA 31059 to the Sri Lanka Disaster Relief Fund.

Amy H. Mullis can be reached at (478) 453-1458 or by e-mail at newsroom@unionrecorder.com