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Just days after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Mich., sent one of its members to the beleaguered country along with a $13,000 offering.

Cheryl Vanderwell, an obstetrics nurse, left for Haiti to help out at God’s Littlest Angels, an orphanage she and her husband, Tom, have been involved with for more than five years.

Their ties with the orphanage began when they adopted Haitian orphans Isaac and Abby, now 9 and 8 years old, into their family that already included three children. Tom now serves on the board of God’s Littlest Angels.

The Hillcrest congregation has sent work teams to the orphanage in the past and is planning another trip this summer, said the Vanderwells’ daughter Kristin, 20, who organizes the trips.

With Cheryl on a plane to Haiti, Tom worked from Hudsonville to coordinate relief flights of medical and baby care items, organize volunteers, and raise funds. Workers at the orphanage rushed to get documents ready for orphans who already had been approved for adoption. “My mom said they have been very busy getting children ready to travel,” Kristin said.

On Jan. 21, a plane carrying 80 Haitian children arrived in Florida, many of them destined to be adopted by West Michigan families (see p. 14).

The orphanage’s building, located in Petionville near Port-au-Prince, escaped damage.

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