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Local charity aiding volcano victims

Local charity aiding volcano victims

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Bismarck-based God's Child Project is helping victims of the Fuego volcanic eruption in Guatemala.

In the aftermath of the eruption Sunday, which has claimed more than 60 lives, God's Child opened an emergency shelter at its Nuestros Ahijados facility to provide care for those affected.

"The God's Child Project is able to provide emergency shelter to hundreds of people. The Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Infants has been turned into a temporary triage center for burn victims, and will be a shelter for many of the 150 orphaned children and infants whose parents are currently missing or displaced," said Hannah Tollefsrud, community engagement coordinator for God's Child.

Tollefsrud said the organization also expects to feed, clothe, shelter and provide medical assistance to thousands of people in the upcoming weeks.

"We will do everything in our power to help everyone that we can," she said.

With its store rooms 80 percent full at the time of the eruption, God's Child has had the medical supplies and medicines from Sanford Health and Mid-Dakota Clinic, clothing, blankets and towels, allowing for the immediate assistance they're providing. 

“We also received hundreds of shirts from Scheels and Starion Bank, which were transported to Guatemala a few months ago and are now being distributed at our emergency shelter. For people affected by the pyroclastic flow and ash, those clean clothes are vital,” said Tollefsrud.

But the organization says it is need of financial donations in order to keep providing aid.

The malnourished infants that God's Child treats at Casa Jackson Hospital are suffering from severe respiratory problems due to the falling ash.

“Our staff are doing the best they can and are providing 24-hour care to make sure these babies survive,” Tollefsrud said, and they're preparing the children for relocation to safe areas outside of the affected region.

While the organization's focus is on aiding the victims, the buildings located at Nuestros Ahijados also suffered severe damage and will need extensive repair when the emergency needs have subsided.

Donations can be sent to Attn: Relief, PO Box 1844, Bismarck, ND 58502, over the phone at (701) 255-7956, online at godschild.org or by texting VOLCANO to 41444. All donations will be matched by outside donors.

Potential volunteers are asked to not make plans or travel to Guatemala, before coordinating plans with God's Child. Updates, videos, and photos will be added to the organization's Facebook page and on GodsChild.org.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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