John Young
January 14, 2010 AT 10:26 PM EST

Actor and Haitian native Jimmy Jean-Louis, best known as “The Haitian” on NBC’s Heroes, has made contact with his parents in Haiti, which was struck by a 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12, CNN reports. Jean-Louis, who was born in Petionville, Haiti, and moved to Paris to start a modeling career at age 12, had been trying to reach his elderly parents after learning that a house he grew up in had collapsed. On Thursday, he was finally able to speak with his mother. “I got a phone call from my sister, who said she was able to reach home,” Jean-Louis told CNN. “So I picked up the phone, and my mom answered. The first reaction from both of us was simply to cry.”

Jean-Louis is the founder of Hollywood Unites for Haiti, a nonprofit group that is currently mobilizing for disaster relief. The actor says that individuals who are looking to help the relief effort should send money instead of goods at the moment. Jean-Louis also expressed his gratitude for the worldwide effort to help Haiti during this crisis. “I am very, very happy that there is unity,” the actor said. “Only through unity will we be able to overcome the catastrophe.”

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