Compassion International prepares for Hurricane Irma impact on k - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Compassion International prepares for Hurricane Irma impact on kids

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A local non-profit that helps kids around the world is bracing for the worst as Hurricane Irma moves forward.

Compassion International is concerned about thousands of their sponsor children in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Crews at Compassion already have boots on the ground in both of those countries bracing for impact.

They have what they call disaster response teams on-call 24-7, ready to help with the immediate needs of thousands of children already living in poverty.

"Our team's on the ground ready to go and ready to respond to needs as they come up," Tim Glenn, Communications Principal for Compassion International said.

As an unforgiving Hurricane Irma tears through the Caribbean, Compassion International is preparing for the worst in some of the poorest parts of the world.

"These homes are made out of scraps, they're not made out of solid materials in most of these cases, so they're not going to withstand a storm like Irma, they didn't withstand a disaster like the earthquake that happened in 2010," Glenn said.

Compassion International is a faith-based organization that works with local churches in 25 countries around the world to provide child development for kids in need.

The concern is that they sponsor more than 80,000 kids in Haiti and 50,000 in the Dominican Republic, both in the path of the storm.

"So we'll be contacting all of those churches, finding out what the needs are, what families were impacted, what their needs are and then we'll start meeting those needs on an individual basis," he said.

While thousands over in Florida pack the roads and flights out of town to evacuate, the sad reality is, many of these families supported through Compassion have no other place to go or means to get there.

"Most of them have no where to go, there's a reason they live in the places they live, they can't afford to move further inland or further into more secure buildings so yeah, it's very difficult to move some of the poorest of the poor in the developing world in the time of an emergency," he said.

Through Compassion, Mischelle Saunders-Gottsch sponsors an 11-year-old boy named Justin in the Dominican Republic.

"My concern is, is he going to have somewhere to go? Are they going to be even more set back? What is that going to do to his future?" Saunders-Gottsch said.

Knowing the conditions his family already lives in, she's worried about his safety in the storm. 

"The infrastructure and outlying areas just aren't the best areas so we can only hope and pray that they're doing the best they can and that they will have the best protection they can get in the circumstances," she said.

The non-profit says while the damage is unpredictable, they will help these families get back on their feet as needed.

Compassion International says they didn't have any reports of major damage or needs as of Thursday afternoon but they are expecting those to start coming in over the next two days.

They say sponsor families will be contacted through Compassion if their sponsor child has been directly affected by Hurricane Irma.

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