On Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti. The earthquake destroyed most of the country’s homes and buildings and killed, according to the most recent government estimates, more than 111,000 people.
In the nearly two weeks that have followed, organizations from around the world have scrambled to provide monetary, medical and humanitarian aid to the victims of this tragedy. The School of Nursing and its students are no different.
In response to the most immediate need for money among nonprofit relief organizations, the School has coordinated several fundraising efforts that will send much‐needed funds to the organizations on the ground that are struggling to work their way through the sick and injured.
Students and faculty have partnered with several nonprofit groups through a variety of activities that will be on‐going over the next several months. All proceeds collected will go to support the work that Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross and locally‐managed Family Health Ministries are doing in Haiti.
Every Friday between Jan. 22 and Feb. 26, students, faculty and staff can buy baked goods to support Doctors Without Borders. Panera Bread agreed, through a student‐led effort, to donate items for the fundraiser. Each item will cost $2, with a morning and an afternoon opportunity to purchase assorted baked goods.
“We spend so much time with people here who need help,” said Elissa Poor, BSN Class of 2011. “We’re just trying to figure out the best ways to help people from afar.”
In addition to the bake sale, the School will also host two Global Craft Fairs in support of the work that Family Health Ministries (FHM) does in Haiti. Directed by Nancy Walmer, PNP ’00, this nonprofit organization has a long‐standing presence in Haiti, and all of its clinics suffered some degree of damage in the earthquake, with the Leogane clinic being fully destroyed.
FHM (http://www.familyhm.org) develops long‐term relationships with underserved individuals and groups and assists them, in culturally relevant ways, to learn to help themselves. In Haiti, FHM supports programs in maternal‐child health, nutrition, education and church development.
Faculty members Jean Davison and Sonda Oppewal helped collect and load medical supplies needed to replenish the resources lost by Family Health Ministries in the earthquake.
Faculty, staff and students are donating their artistic, international craft items for sale. The crafts fairs will be held on Feb. 1 and Feb. 4 with all proceeds to go to FHM.
FHM is also accepting medical supplies (nothing perishable) to replenish its lost resources. Please visit the Web site for specific information.
There are also opportunities for faculty, staff and students to contribute to the relief effort even if their schedules do not allow them to participate in organized events. Collection buckets have been placed strategically throughout the School to collect loose change for “Pennies for Haiti,” an effort that will provide financial assistance to the American Red Cross presence in the country.
Faculty member Andrea Biondi organized this effort after her daughter became involved with a similar activity in her school. There is currently a friendly competition underway to see which school can collect the most money. The Association of Nursing Students (ANS) is also participating in “Pennies for Haiti.”
ANS, however, isn’t limiting its relief‐effort activities to SON‐led endeavors. As a group, ANS has also joined with the University community in One Effort Haiti, a student‐organized plan to raise funds alongside the Campus Y committee, Extended Disaster Relief, in which students donate to Doctors Without Borders through their student ID numbers.
Even individuals are pitching in to make a difference. Graduate student Nanci Sullivan‐Blackert is collecting medical supplies for Joy in Hope (http://www.joyinhope.org), a nonprofit faith‐based organization that supports Haitian families. Similarly, faculty member Marcia Van Riper helped collect health kits that her church will send to Haiti.
SON officials anticipate that additional projects and efforts will be added in the coming months. For additional information, contact Sonda Oppewal at firstname.lastname@example.org.