A year later, Napervillians still aiding Haiti
By Dan Cassidy email@example.com January 11, 2011 3:08PM
How you can help
A number of organizations are working to help the people of Haiti. For information, visit:
Unicef at www.unicefusa.org
American Red Cross at www.redcross.org
Doctors Without Borders at www.doctorswithoutborders.org
Impact for Jesus at www.impactforjesus.net
Lazarus Project Haiti at www.lazarusprojecthaiti.org
Feed My Starving Children at www.fmsc.org
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The tragic earthquake that hit Haiti one year ago today is still tugging at the hearts of Naperville residents.
A massive earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation Jan. 12, 2010, killing more than 200,000. Naperville residents and organizations immediately began raising funds and supplies to send to Haiti. Twelve months later, those efforts are needed more than ever.
An ongoing mission
Patty and Jim Meyer of Naperville know how important it is to keep the spotlight on the situation in Haiti. They have made several trips there, and Patty is there right now to help those in need.
Through the local group Impact for Jesus, the Meyers have traveled down with dozens of area residents during the past year, working on a variety of projects including the reconstruction of an orphanage leveled by the earthquake.
Although rewarding, the work can sometimes be discouraging, Patty said.
“(Enough) progress has not been made,” she said. “Many are still living in tent cities ... a lot of the rubble still remains.”
Many people in Haiti are just struggling to survive.
“It is really discouraging,” she said. “Progress is so slow. It is just very, very sad.”
Despite that, Patty said plenty of good work is being done. That is why residents need to keep the plight of Haiti in their hearts.
“The crisis in Haiti is ongoing,” she said. “The needs are so apparent.”
Wheatland Salem Church in Naperville, which the Meyers attend, was involved with helping Haiti even before the earthquake. Once the tragedy hit, though, the church went into overdrive, organizing efforts to assist in any way possible.
Church member Chris Greeno has taken two trips down to help. Right now, the church is partnering with Impact for Jesus and the Lazarus Project to build a medical facility in Haiti. According to Greeno, ground should be broken for the center in a few months.
That kind of headway is important, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the pace of rebuilding has been extremely slow,” he said. “It can be very disheartening.”
That makes tangible results like the medical center very important.
“It provides hope to the people in Haiti ... to see these little pockets of development,” he said. “You can see some positive impact being made.”
Building a better future
As administrative assistant for Global Ministries at Compass Church in Naperville, Jennifer Kindelin has been busy during the past year working to help Haiti. She personally went down with a group from the church in July and is helping to organize a mission trip to Haiti in February.
The trip next month will see 12 church members go down for a week to build houses for those still without permanent homes due to the earthquake. She said it wasn’t difficult to find people willing to help.
“People are very interested” in helping Haiti, she said.
During the last trip, the Compass Church group worked on 80 homes.
For her, the experience during the summer was an eye-opener.
“The amount of destruction was huge,” she said. “There were (displaced) people camped everywhere.”
Surrounded by so much devastation, the work on the homes might seem like a small thing, she said. However, the impact on the individuals involved was “quite significant,” she said, because it helped 80 families have a decent place to live.
The situation in Haiti hit home for Whitney Roberts, assistant director of ministry and service at North Central College, during a recent school trip to the nation.
She was part of a group which included eight students. It helped Haitians in many ways, from working on building projects to distributing meals to the hungry.
“We were there to help in any way we could,” she said.
According to Roberts, the situation in Haiti is “pretty tense” right now. On top of the earthquake-related problems have been added a cholera outbreak and political instability in the capital of Port-au-Prince.
Although a lot of cleanup work has been done, the rebuilding of Haiti has hardly begun.
“With the cholera outbreak, a lot of the resources that would have been used to rebuild have been put on hold,” she said.
Right now, she said the situation is at a “standstill.”
Despite the hardships, she said the feeling on the trip was one of hope, both for the people of Haiti slowly rebuilding their lives and those who want to help them. That is good, because the situation is still heartbreaking.
“These are people who have been through some of the most tragic things you could imagine,” she said.