Haitian Relief Efforts Continue, SLU Faculty Member Contemplates Nation's Future

January 26, 2010

The Haitian Education Project, a non-profit housed at Saint Leo University’s main campus, has been propelled into disaster-relief fundraising for Haiti. HEP has added an online donation mechanism from its website, www.haitianeducationproject.net, for the convenience of donors wanting to give cash.  HEP has also been concerned about the poor water supply for earthquake survivors. In response, students from Saint Leo residence halls, led by student chaplains and residence hall advisors, along with families from Saint Anthony Interparochial School in San Antonio, collected 52 cases of bottled water.
The cases of water and other goods (such as bedding), collected by HEP were shipped to Haiti on Friday, thanks to the generosity of a Florida sponsor who allowed several non-profits to pool their donated goods into one shipment. The HEP supplies went first to the Dominican Republic, and then to Haiti by truck, directly to a local program caring for 200 families. HEP also gave the program, called Gredeve, cash to purchase food and water.

As it continues with fundraising, HEP will be stressing the need for cash donations.  HEP wants to purchase “shelter boxes,” emergency kits that include tents and other tools and supplies. These boxes are assembled and distributed by ShelterBox, a specialized disaster-relief group that has set up three working sites in Haiti. The photo above from the ShelterBox website (www.shelterbox.org) shows one of its tents being used at a hospital in Haiti last week. HEP has chosen to put 75 percent of its donations toward ShelterBox. The remaining 25 percent will be sent to HEP’s other new partner in Haiti, the Gredeve program, for food, water, and hygiene supplies.

Meanwhile, Phyllis Zagano, visiting professor of theology and religion, has devoted one of her regular columns for Religion News Service to Haiti’s poor and painful past. She wonders about its future leadership: “Someone has to take charge,” Zagano writes. “Someone has to save Haiti.” Read the complete column.

 Photo credit: Mark Pearson, Courtesy of ShelterBox