By Cherri Gregg

 

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Relief efforts for the Ebola crisis in West African have been slow, and presidents from the three countries hit hardest by the outbreak have asked the world for help.

As needs evolve, so is the effort to help.

Local and national efforts to help combat Ebola overseas appears to be lagging behind relief following other international disasters, such as the typhoon in the Philippines.

And lack of infrastructure has slowed the process.  But relief efforts are growing.

“This is an evolving process, so as you can imagine our response is developing as the scope of the situation arises,” says Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the  Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

She says the Red Cross has raised $2.8 million nationally for the Ebola crisis, and more.

“We’ve put more than 4,000 volunteers on the ground to increase public awareness,” she notes, “and, as the need grows, our response will grow.”

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They are also collecting money specifically for the Ebola relief effort online at www.redcross.org/ebolaoutbreak.

Locally, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church is collecting hand sanitizer, bleach, disinfecting wipes, medical gloves, canned tuna and chicken, canned beans, peanut butter crackers, and more to send overseas to Liberia.

“We have churches in Liberia who are caring for people on the ground, so we trust that our people will get what we send,” said Rev. Blaine Newberry.

He says the “Heart for Liberia” service day is a collaborative effort between Enon, Lott Carey (a global Christian mission network), the Foreign Mission Board, the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., and Omega Psi Phi Inc.   It takes place on Saturday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Life Center, 2800 W. Cheltenham Ave.

“Many people are dying,” says Newberry.   “We have to be caring in our efforts so more people will not die, and we have to give our people in West Africa hope and let them know that we care.”

Dahn Dennis, president of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania, says money can help but in-kind donations help even more, if the items can be shipped swiftly to Liberia.

“With money you still have to go out and buy stuff,” says Dennis, “but people who get the money in Liberia, they still do not feel comfortable going out to go buy food — so there is hunger there.”

 

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