Grass roots charities that have quietly raised money for poverty-stricken Haiti are closely watching the developments in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake.
At Good Samaritan School in Port-au-Prince, 150 students are supported by the efforts of their Alexandria, Va., sponsor. But since the quake struck, Harry Covert, founder of the charity Ripples of Hope/Haiti, has been unable to get through, getting only a recording when he calls.
"I'm worried because I hope those children are still alive, 'cause they live right around the school, and 150 children in a slum area, that's where this thing hit yesterday," Covert said. "Really, I am frantic over it."
For $650 a month, Covert's charity feeds Good Samaritan students and their teachers five meals a week, and he mails basic supplies like aspirin, rice and beans.
Even before the quake struck, Covert was compelled to help after learning that many of the students were surviving on so-called "dirt cookies," he said.
"You take dirt, you put a little lard in it and a little salt in it, and you press it down, and you set it out in the sun and let it dry all day, and then you sell them for two cents apiece if you can get it," Covert said.
Many of those feared killed in the earthquake are aid workers from charities and church groups -- the backbone of relief work.
"Despite all of the negativity and the difficult, the Haitian people, they have such rich cultural outpourings -- their music, their food, their art," Martin said. "I mean I don't know how they do it. I really don't know how they do it."
Harry Covert hopes to raise as much money as he can as quickly as he can. He has been involved in Haitian relief efforts since 1981.
"It moves you," he said. "You cannot come back from that place without feeling 'Well, gotta do something.' Well, we can do a lot. You don't need everyone to give millions of dollars. You can just get everybody to give you a little bit and you can do a lot with a little bit."
Send contributions to Ripples of Hope/Haiti to Harry Covert through Paypal, at The Covert Letter, or at Ripples of Hope/Haiti, c/o Covert Ministries, Box 8001, Alexandria, VA 22309.
For complete coverage of the earthquake and aftermath, click here.