CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Marie Alexander knows all too well what it’s like to lose everything, having lost most of her belongings in a house fire a few years ago.
Alexander said she was awestruck by how the community helped her rebuild, and that’s why she’s doing her part to help the people of Haiti.
“God is good to us and we need to help our neighbors,” she said. “Even though Haiti is so far away, they’re still our neighbors. The whole world is our neighbor.”
More than 11 million Haitians are struggling to get back on their feet after a catastrophic earthquake and tropical storm rocked the country a few months ago.
With the help of the Cranston YMCA, Alexander was able to collect boxes full of all kinds of donations for the people of Haiti.
“We collect toiletries and warm clothes and stuff around Christmastime to give to the homeless people, and the YMCA has been doing it for several years,” Alexander said. “I’m so glad we can help Haiti and we can help people in our area.”
Those donations ultimately ended up in the hands of Moses Monteville, who’s originally from Haiti. Monteville first met Alexander when she moved into the same apartment building as his mother.
“Instead of complaining of darkness, just light a candle,” Monteville said. “That’s exactly what Marie and I did.”
Monteville has been shipping the donations to his niece, who still lives in Haiti, but emphasized they’re for everyone and not just his relatives.
“Everybody in the village is like family,” he said. “Everybody is in need. So, what I sent to my niece, I asked her to share it with anybody that might need something, and she said she would.”
Monteville said despite all of the negativity in the world, the kindness of people like Alexander warms his heart.
“We have the same ideas to help people,” he said of Alexander. “She’s not just a neighbor to my mother, she’s not just my friend. I consider her like family.”