WHUR 96.3 FM and Howard University will host a 12-hour radiothon from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 6, to help send hundreds of Howard University students to cities across the United States and possibly Haiti to provide critical services to those in need.

The “Helping Hands” radiothon asks listeners to phone in, drop by the radio station or to go online to make a contribution so students can travel to Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta and here in the Washington to help families struggling with a variety of issues. Plans are under way to send a small cadre of students to help families in Haiti who are still reeling from last year’s devastating earthquake.

The effort is part of Howard University students’ annual Alternative Spring Break. Each year, hundreds of Howard students forgo vacations of fun in the sun in Florida or the Caribbean and instead roll up their sleeves to help families wrestling with such issues as gun violence, illiteracy and illiteracy. Additionally, the students will also volunteer to help victims devastated by last year’s earthquake in Haiti. To learn more about the program and to see the students’ work from last year, visit www.howard.edu/helpinghands.

It is estimated that it will cost approximately $150,000 to send 300 students to the various locations. The radiothon will help pay for things as lodging, food and bus transportation for as many as 500 students.

Students will perform services include tutoring and mentoring and providing legal assistance.

“We are so proud of the students at Howard who continue to champion the cause of helping others and we want to make sure we can do all we can to assist them in their efforts,” WHUR General Manager Jim Watkins said.

Volunteers include undergraduate, graduate, and Howard University Law School students as well as University faculty and staff. The students will leave for the various destinations for Alternative Spring Break 2011 on March 12 and return on March 19. Donations to the radiothon can be made now by logging onto www.whur.com or www.howard.edu/helpinghands.