Kimberly woman responds to Peru quake
Volunteer catechist works with her parish
By Joanne Flemming
When Adalia Jansen of Kimberly heard that a major earthquake had devastated her hometown -- Arequipa, Peru, and surrounding cities -- last summer, she knew she had to help.
"I have a very, very, very strong faith," she said. "I believe that God uses me. I am very, very happy to help people."
In less than two weeks, she, family and friends collected 1,200 boxes of supplies.
These donations were packed into 100 larger boxes for shipping and sent to Peru through Br. Regis Fust and the Salvatorian Mission Center in New Holstein.
By sending the supplies through the center, she was "100% confident" they would reach the people who needed them.
Jansen said she and her family were planning a trip to Peru when she heard about the June 23 earthquake. That was why she had such a short time to collect donations.
The quake started near Moquegua, a city in southern Peru near the Pacific Ocean.
That community and Camana, which Jansen described as a "summer town" right on the ocean, were hardest hit. Thirty percent of Arequipa's historical monuments, including its cathedral, were destroyed.
The day after the earthquake, tsunamis (giant waves) covered what remained of Camana. Most of the permanent residents were poor; many were fishermen, Jansen said.
One mother held her baby tight when the first wave hit. She was expressing her gratitude that she had saved her child when a second wave swept it from her arms. The infant was never found.
American newscasts listed the help needed and Jansen called Peru's embassies in Chicago and Miami.
The Chicago embassy told her that only money was being accepted because it had no way to ship supplies. Miami said tents, blankets, sleeping bags and clothing were needed. The Red Cross had an account where money could be sent.
An Appleton Post-Crescent article about Jansen's project said donations could be brought to International Translators in Appleton, where Jansen worked, the Carpenter bookstore in Little Chute and Soccer Heaven in Darboy.
"The response I had from the community was wonderful," Jansen said. Among the 1,200 boxes were "a huge amount of blankets" supplied by Holy Name Parish in Kimberly, where she is a member and a volunteer catechist.
A Neenah firm donated the shipping boxes, which Appleton Papers volunteered to transport to Miami. Then a friend suggested Br. Regis.
Jansen said she organized a similar project in 1994 when she first came to Wisconsin after her marriage to Todd. As a volunteer at Kimberly's Westside School, she, students and staff collected 500 boxes of clothing and other goods and shipped them to an impoverished area of Arequipa.