Today, the Salesian distribution warehouse in Haiti is virtually empty. Relief supplies that once filled this enormous facility have made their way to devastated communities and suffering victims. But more help is desperately needed.
Recently, Jessica O'Connor from our Salesian Missions office in New York visited Haiti to see firsthand how donations are making an impact and to find out what supplies are still in high demand.
Jessica's first stop was Cite Soleil where the furnishings of a former church in Pennsylvania have graced St. Paul's Chapel, the only chapel of Immaculate Conception Chuch still standing despite suffering minor damage in the earthquake.
"They are holding music classes every day," observed Jessica. "It was good to see all the kids running around and enjoying the guitar, drums and piano. But the instruments are old and they need new ones."
"They also need to redo the walls and build a retention wall because the land around the church is sliding away," she reports. "There's also no electricity yet – I'm not sure if they have the funding to get it hooked up."
Elsewhere, in Port-au-Prince, medical supplies have been distributed to Salesian clinics, a nursing school and three hospitals. Other items, including construction materials, were dispatched to 12 sites around the country based on the number of children in need.
"There's still a lot of people living in tents, but many of the tents have been ripped – they last about 8 months," explains Jessica. "Some smaller schools were given tents to hold classes."
On her visit to Lakay – a program for street children – Jessica noted that a donated school bus was being used to transport the kids. "They have about 150 kids who live there," she reports. "It's a four year program and they work to reunite them with their families after."
Jessica concluded her trip to Haiti by stressing the need for more food and water purification tablets. "People come to the warehouse looking for food but all of it has been used. Sometimes the workers will buy food with their own money to give to the people."
If you would like to make a donation to help needy children and families in Haiti, please click the button below and select the program "Haiti Recovery Fund". Please accept our thanks for your kindness and generosity.