Desperate for help, Haitian people gather in the midst of a backdrop of toppled buildings and mass graves in the aftermath of an earthquake that occurred near the capital city of Port-au-Prince Jan. 12.
The slow but steady relief effort has provided food, water and medical supplies to grieving citizens and extended its hand to 53 orphans who were flown from Haiti to Pittsburgh in order to finalize and expedite their adoptions.
The Haitian and American governments were not the only ones concerned with orphans in Haiti. Dan Kirkley was too.
He is president of Hope for the Hungry, which not only has an office in
Belton and does local ministry, but also has orphanages and homes in Haiti.
He has planned a trip to Haiti with three other Hope workers in order to help out with the relief effort. The team of four includes university senior Lindsay Weaver.
Weaver will travel to the Hope orphanages in Haiti to bring supplies and help workers with the children.
In a statement Kirkley said, “We will be distributing (about) 100 water filtration systems … (and) medical supplies including wound meds, antibiotics and use those as far as they will go.”
UMHB students came together in chapel on Jan. 15 and raised $1,500, enough to purchase half of the water filters needed for the trip.
Although students have already stepped up to provide money for Haitians, there is still a lot to do, something that student body President Tommy Wilson recognizes.
Wilson said, “SGA is talking with Hope and trying to figure out what is the most effective way to get involved. For now, the main way students can help out is through prayer and giving of money.”
Some students involved with Hope for the Hungry are giving up their spring breaks to travel to Haiti and work with efforts to rebuild.
Sophomore youth ministry major KassidyHarris is planning on making the trip.
She said, “The tragedy in Haiti has made me love Haiti more. It has actually opened my eyes and heart to the country more than ever.”
The teams will be working with the orphanage in Guibert doing manual labor and spending time with the children.
Harris said, “I am beyond excited to see what God places in our paths and to be able to meet and share with these kids. This experience will be an incredible one because of the doors it will open for me as well as my team.”
Luckily, some places in Haiti remain intact after the earthquake, like the orphanage in Guibert, although many do not.
Kirkley said in his statement that “all of our staff, children and facilities were unscathed by the earthquake, but the majority of the homes in the Guibert area were destroyed.”
Though there is much effort going into relieving and rebuilding Haiti, the magnitude of the tragedy is overwhelming.
With more than 200,000 people estimated dead, the process of recovering from the earthquake will take more than just replacing physical losses.
“Pray that many Haitians will meet Him during this crisis,” Kirkley said in his statement regarding the trip and the needs deeper than physical ailment.
According to his statement, now is the time to, “begin planning the long-term efforts, including the medical teams, food distribution groups and construction teams…. This is obviously going to be a lengthy journey.”