Sunday, January 17, 2010

Response Time for Haiti

I first learned about Foyer de Sion Orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, three years ago when the Morgan family ( presented an inspiring video called "Gate of Hope", about reaching out. We had a room full of women ages twenty-five to seventy-five, and we knew very little about Haiti. We could not have read a hundred books to compare with the beautiful depictions of children without homes in a forgotten land. Their video ( to promote awareness for the orphanage was compelling. Recently when we were putting together plans for our fall Humanitarian project another friend, Jennifer, suggested she wanted to make t-shirt dresses for children. I knew just who could use them.

Cindy started making calls to the stateside connections for the orphanage, and later a shirt donor came forward to provide all eighty of the brightly colored tees. All we needed was fabric to sew onto the bottoms to complete the dresses, which was found by requesting the leftover supplies from neighbors and friends, and low-cost yardage from Wal-Mart. Luckily, Jennifer was persistent enough to carry this project beyond the one-day service event, with several ladies working to help finish the last twenty dresses. She is now gathering them for delivery via yet another friend, Krys, to the Idaho family who works with the orphanage and who will transport them. So goes a service project of many hands over several months.

When I spoke to Jennifer to see if I could have a photo of the finished product, she mentioned that she was glad she had something to focus on when her own disabled daughter had surgery in November. Besides involving so many different people to complete, another beautiful side to this story is Jennifer's ability to give of herself in following through, regardless of her own situation. I believe all of us who have had anything to do with dresses for Haiti have been deeply touched lately, wondering if the children would ever survive and receive our gifts. Thankfully, all is well at Foyer de Sion; other orphanages and schools were destroyed in the earthquake.

There are so many of us who have been touched by our involvement with this project: I was inspired years ago by Randall and Deanna Morgan's moving video of the children, Jen was inspired by the book "101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home," and Cindy became the facilitator. The anonymous donor was generous enough to order dozens of brand new t-shirts, still others brought in fabric, and dedicated seamstresses sewed on the flouncy skirts. More will be involved in the delivery, and I wonder if it might have been simpler to mail something from Venezuela. But then, we would not have felt so deeply connected when catastrophe struck last week. And that is the value of good works, not the cost of time or materials to produce the end result, but the way it stitches all of us together.

Get Involved: Relief for Haiti

  1. See the video, donate to Foyer de Sion., click on "View Gate of Hope Video."
  2. My Latest Tweet, thanks in part to Paly's American Disaster Relief club: TEXT TO HELP HAITI NOW. $10 to Red Cross: "Haiti" to 90999. $10 to Clinton Foundation: "Haiti" to 20222. $5 to Wyclef Jean: "Yele" to 501501
  3. Read this touching blog: University of Portland graduate Molly Hightower has left a legacy of service in Haiti. It will inspire you to take action in your own unique way:
  4. Gather and donate jeans at any Aeropostale store to help homeless teens in Haiti: Thank you to Paly student Maria for taking on this very project for the Living Skills class requirement this weekend--even on your birthday!
  5. Host a bake sale, like several schools in our district are doing this weekend. Proceeds are needed to help Partners in Health provide medical relief:
  6. Check out this inspiring blog from Bellarmine College Prep student Bobby Moon: Read about his experience:

T-shirt Dresses for Haiti (and other causes)

  • Step-by-step:
  • Jazz it up:

1 comment:

Bina said...

HAITI STILL NEEDS HELP! Two benefit concerts this weekend raise funds and awareness: 1.) UNICEF Benefit Show, 2pm Sunday Feb. 28, 2010. Yoshi's, Oakland, CA., AND 2.) Red Cross International Response Fund/Silicon Valley Artists United for Haiti Benefit Concert, 2pm Saturday Feb. 27, 2010. Hoover Theatre, San Jose, CA.