GREENWICH, Conn. — As with people many other areas in the U.S. and around the world, residents in Connecticut are feeling the devastating impact of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti, and the pupil transportation community is stepping in to provide aid.
Student Transportation of America (STA) employees have partnered with local schools here to support Haitian-American bus drivers and monitors whose loved ones have been affected by the earthquake.
"We have 30 bus drivers and 10 monitors in our Greenwich terminal who are desperately trying to contact their family and friends in Haiti," said John Spang, STA's regional operations director. "Our hearts go out to each and every one of them. All of us, from our local STA employees and others throughout North America, to Greenwich parents, students and administrators, are looking for ways to ease their frustration and support them and their homeland in whatever way we can."
An information center has been established at STA's Greenwich office where WiFi and several computer workstations will be operating from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day while the need exists.
"With the communications infrastructure in Haiti so badly damaged, Facebook and Twitter seem to be two of the best ways to communicate, so our workstations and WiFi will help our employees check on friends and relatives before and after their daily runs," Spang said. "We're also helping to connect employees to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross Websites, which help individuals locate loved ones amid the chaos."
The following efforts are also underway:
• Greenwich Public Schools staff and families have been alerted to the plight of STA's Haitian employees and been given information about a number of opportunities to donate to relief organizations, including Stamford, Conn.-based AmeriCares.
• STA has purchased $1,000 in prepaid phone cards that will be distributed to employees in Stamford as well as to two employees in the company's New London, Conn., terminal with Haitian ties.
• A company-wide donation system is being established that will allow STA employees in 11 states and Ontario, Canada, to make donations to the relief effort in person at individual terminals and online at www.rideSTA.com.
• Plans are underway to hold a special gathering for employees next week at the Greenwich terminal to underscore the company and school district's support to the drivers.