Craig residents reach out to Haitian victims

Bake sale to take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday

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Whether it’s an apartment fire in downtown Craig or a national crisis on Sept. 11, 2001, Karen Sakran has always found a way to help.

If you go

What: Bake sale to benefit Haiti earthquake victims

When: 9:30 a.m. Friday

Where: City Market, 505 W. Victory Way

To volunteer, bake or donate to Friday’s bake sale, call Karen Sakran at 620-4041.

She said she’s never had a lot of extra money to give to relief efforts, so she does one thing to help: bake.

When a devastating earthquake struck Jan. 12 near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sakran thought nothing of the distance between the city of Craig and the Caribbean island when planning a bake sale to benefit disaster victims.

“They’re human beings just like us,” the Craig resident said of the millions of people left homeless and starving. “They’re not just ‘somebody over there,’ or something on the other side of the world.

“They’re human beings, and God loves them, too, and they need help. If I have a coat and somebody’s cold, I’ll give them my coat.”

The death toll is quickly increasing toward 100,000 from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti and a densely populated area, suffered serious destruction of houses, government buildings and health services.

More than 2,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Port-au-Prince to help with relief efforts.

To help in her own way, Sakran is asking for support from volunteers and organizations to host a bake sale starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday outside City Market, 505 W. Victory Way.

She said the Independent Life Center is planning to help but that because she has been busy baking, she hasn’t had time to call around to other organizations.

“I have so much stuff baked so far, and my back hurts so bad,” she said. “I have 11 cakes and three dozen cupcakes I need to frost along with 12 dozen cookies. I made a whole bunch of cream pies, and I have a pineapple upside down cake that at least I don’t need to frost.”

She said her goal is to raise $600, half of which will go to the American Red Cross. The other half will go to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, a humanitarian organization started by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

“This is for Craig so that our city can give out and help other people,” she said. “I figure our little bit of pain and suffering is nothing compared to how these people are suffering.”

Sakran is not the only resident who has looked past the nation’s borders to help those in need.

Lisa Balstad’s daughters, Emma and Rudi, held a “Quake Sale” after church service Sunday at Concordia Lutheran Church in Steamboat Springs, along with the rest of their Sunday school class.

The children raised $173 for Haitian relief efforts.

“Judging by my two girls, I really think kids see this stuff on the news and they get it,” Balstad said. “I think it’s important to teach kids to help others and that it’s not all about them.”

For Sakran, baking for a week straight is not something she would do if there weren’t a critical reason for it.

“I don’t like to bake too much at all,” she said. “I’m 68, and I’m getting really tired of baking and cooking. So I figured it’s a sacrifice. I am broke, and I thought this is the only way I can really help.”

She said several people have donated cake mixes and cash, and she used the last of her food stamps to buy the remaining supplies for the bake sale.

Despite making sacrifices of her own to help the Haitians, she said her “brothers and sisters” in all corners of the world need help in some way or another.

“I’ve been in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong,” she said. “If you see the way some of these people live in these backward countries, you just can’t imagine how poor they are. I may be poor, but I’m not poor when I look at these other people.

“We have so much that we can give to others. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to be starving. Well, these are our brothers and sisters and they need help, too. They’re God’s people, too, and he doesn’t see the distance between us.”

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