MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (March 13, 2010) – In the two months since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, funds have been used to provide direct assist to those in need in the Port-au-Prince area.
In the days following the unexpected tragedy, the Sandals Foundation announced its establishment of a Haiti Relief Fund to support disaster relief efforts. A special fundraising effort was immediately launched, raising $120,000 within the first two months. The monies were raised online as well as through special events and programs at all Sandals Resorts International locations - which stretch across five Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and the Turks & Caicos Islands. The Sandals Foundation is the charitable arm of Sandals Resorts International, which employs 10,000 people, of which approximately 375 are of Haitian origin.
"This is an unimaginable catastrophe that required an unprecedented response," said Heidi Clarke, Director of Programs for the Sandals Foundation.
All proceeds of the Sandals Foundation Haiti Relief Fund have gone directly to charities working on the ground in Haiti.
Knowing that the people of Haiti needed help as quickly, effectively and efficiently as possible, Clarke was in contact immediately with the Red Cross to assess immediate needs and worked alongside the JHTA, the Government of Jamaica and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force in the Bahamas to get these much needed supplies to the right aid agencies on the ground in Haiti so that the victims could get the help they so desperately needed.
The Sandals Foundation has designated two respected nonprofit humanitarian organizations as recipients of the funds, said Clark.
"Salesian Missions and Population Services International were already working directly with relief efforts on the ground, so they were in a position to make the most of the funds we were able to raise," she adds. "The Sandals Foundation worked closely with both of these organizations, as well as others, to determine greatest needs on an ongoing basis and the most effective use of Sandals Resorts International's resources to help with the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti."
To date, the Sandals Foundation provided $20,000 to Population Services International to buy malaria nets, safe water treatments solutions and health products such as oral re-hydration salts; and $35,000 to Salesian Missions to provide two truck loads of water and two truck loads of food to children and families made homeless by the earthquake and taking shelter at Salesian Missions locations in Haiti. The nonprofit organization has been working hard to provide care for the more than 15,000 people who have turned to them for hope.
Additionally, the Sandals Foundation funds have been used to provide humanitarian relief flights. Through its partnership with American Airlines and regional carrier, American Eagle, the cost of 10 flights into Port-au-Prince was underwritten, carrying relief supplies such as water, medical and emergency supplies, clothing, food, baby formula, diapers, and many other basic but dire needs. The items were donated to and distributed by relief agencies on the ground in Haiti such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross. The flights also provided transport for medical personnel and relief workers.
"This is certainly not the end of our efforts," said Clarke. "We have our contacts on the ground in Haiti to keep us abreast of the needs so that we can assist as the long process to rebuild lives continues to unfold."
The Sandals Foundation will also resume taking donations for our local community projects too, "so that they continue to flourish and benefit from the support that we have given them," added Clarke.
ABOUT THE SANDALS FOUNDATION
The Sandals Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, with nearly three decades of real and lasting commitment to our commitments. As part of the vibrant and vital Caribbean community, the Sandals Foundation is committed to investments, which create a positive and sustainable impact on people's lives and the environment. The Sandals Foundation funds projects in the Caribbean in three key areas: education, environment and community.
All administrative and management costs associated with the Sandals Foundation are supported by Sandals Resorts International, therefore 100 percent of all funds raised by the foundation go directly to programs benefiting the Caribbean community.
More information about the Sandals Foundation can be found at SandalsFoundation.org
ABOUT SALESIAN MISSIONS
Salesian Missions not only operated schools for thousands of students in Port-au-Prince, but services of all kinds for 25,000 of Haiti's poorest children. Specializing in sheltering, educating and feeding street children, the humanitarian aid organization has its work cut out for it as all children in Port-au-Prince are now street children. Salesian Missions, headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, is dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries, helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion.