My church has a sister parish in Barederes (sic?). We’ve been partnered for years, sending people, money, and supplies to help the parish and their (excellent) school. We pray for them, and they pray for us, and once a year, their priest visits to give us updates on what’s happening. In September, we ship hundreds of boxes of school supplies for the children, to help them in their studies. In January, groups from our church visit there– doctors and mechanics and engineers and nurses, and help the parish and village out in any way they can.
I don’t know if the folks from my church were there or not. In a way, it doesn’t matter. Our sister parish were the first people I thought of when I heard the first reports of the earthquake last night. I know they were hurt by the hurricaines a year ago, and Haiti is so small that the whole country must be groaning right now, including my brothers and sisters in Baraderes.
With that in mind, I have to add my small, paltry voice to those imploring aid. I will be digging deep to find something to send along, and I beg any stoppers-by to consider what they can give as well. Even the smallest amount is something– If you only have a dollar, try to give that dollar. It’s the little things that add up and make the difference. I know it’s hard, right now– we have a lot less to give, these days, and things aren’t looking good for the near future. But sometimes, our economic troubles seem petty when you see images of an entire country brought literally to its knees in only a matter of minutes. We may yet end up in such a state ourselves, but until we are there, I think wemust, as in all things, do what we can, as we can.
So, since others have done far better work in list making and writing, I’m just going to send you along to those wonderful people.
I’ll update as I find more, but these two ladies have done a great job.
[UPDATE]: I received the following plea from Heifer International in my inbox this morning (I trust they won’t mind me spreading the word):
Heifer International is issuing an emergency appeal for funds to help families in Haiti recover and restore their lives following yesterday’s catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
“Heifer is by no means a traditional first responder,” said Steve Denne, Heifer’s chief operating officer, “but we have projects and partner families in Haiti who likely have lost everything, and now with this devastation, the need is even greater than before. This appeal will help us help our current families begin to rebuild their lives, and provide the chance to help even more families recover from this devastating blow.”
The massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was the strongest to hit the country in 200 years.
Heifer has worked in Haiti for 10 years, currently supporting 16 projects with more than 16,000 families and several farmer associations. Our projects are scattered around the country and range from training in sustainable farming and crop diversity to gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and grains to training in nutrition, aquaculture and fish production.
“It’s essential that we prepare to follow the important work of first responders,” said Denne. “While they provide emergency food, medical care and aid, we offer our hopes and prayers for the victims and the families, but at the same time, we must prepare for the next wave of help — giving people the tools and the ongoing help to rebuild their lives and their livelihoods.”
Heifer International has seven employees in Haiti. At the time of this writing, there has been little contact with Heifer staff or partners in Haiti, though efforts continue. “Our thoughts are with them, and we are preparing to respond with the most appropriate and most needed help we can,” said Denne. “This is a country that even in the best of times faces hardships most of us cannot imagine.”
“We, all of us, have an obligation — a duty — to help any way we can.”
Funds raised in this appeal will be used in the recovery and rebuilding effort in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake. Any funds that exceed the level needed to provide relief in this rebuilding effort will go toward the disaster relief fund and for the entire mission of Heifer International.
I gave a donation in a friend’s name this Christmas, which is why I was on thier list. I like them because they are dedicated to helping people become self-sufficient in the long-term, getting them of relying on others and then even able to give to others themselves– until something like this happens. Certainly, all the short-term relief agencies need a lot of help, but please spare a thought for the longer term, and helping people rebuild in a meaningful, dignified way.