Volunteers sorting items donated for Haiti at a Washington warehouse
Volunteers sorting items donated for Haiti at a Washington warehouse

People across Washington took time during a nationwide holiday Monday to support earthquake relief efforts for Haiti. Local  emergency officials, community activists and area residents helped fill one warehouse with boxes of supplies, intended for the devastated Caribbean nation.

Throughout the day emergency workers and volunteers in Washington loaded moving vans with donated supplies destined for Haiti...

Volunteers boxed clothing, medical supplies and other items at this hospital warehouse in southeast Washington.

Washington's local government helped to coordinate aid efforts by
Washington's Haitian Embassy, and the Greater Washington Haitian Relief Committee.

With schools closed for a holiday, some parents took the opportunity to teach their children a lesson in charity.

"Well, actually I was scheduled to work this morning," said Dorinda Bowers. "When I got up at 5:30, I saw on the news that they needed a lot of help, and I called into my job and said I needed to take a short day vacation, because I needed my son to be a part of what was going on."

"Like it was just the Christmas season and they opened a bunch of gifts, and they know how good it feels to get gifts, but you know, I wanted them to see how good it feels to give back too," said Tony Prestipino.

"When we were watching the news, it seemed really bad, you know, like most of the hospitals went down and we need to give them food," said Amanda Prestipino.

At the Haitian Embassy, people continued to bring donations Monday.  One man from Brooklyn, New York is heading to Haiti to help with relief efforts.

"My wife and kids, you know, we were all crying the other day when we saw it on TV," said Philip Backur. "That's why I came yesterday to help, to be part of this."

Local officials are urging people to donate money, rather than more items, to help defray the cost of relief efforts.

They say the first shipment from the warehouse should arrive in Haiti in a few days.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to personally thank American Red Cross workers in Washington.