Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
Those who received, now look to give back
BY John Bayles
It’s been six months since an earthquake in Haiti killed over 240,000 people and displaced another 100,000. But in that time frame, the coverage has moved from the front pages to the back burner in many people’s minds, replaced instead by the travesty happening on the Gulf Coast.
And that is precisely the reason one downtown coalition, created in the wake of the disaster in Haiti, and is hosting a unique benefit to raise funds to help the devastated country.
The Downtown Haiti Coalition will host Sunset on the Hudson: A Benefit for Haiti this Sunday, July 11th. The proceeds of the benefit will go to Mercy Corps, an international relief and development agency that helps people in the world’s toughest places turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress.
The coalition was formed in the weeks after the earthquake. Its steering committee includes former City Council member Alan Gerson, Robin Forst of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, and Rosalie Joseph of the Battery Park City Neighbors’ Association.
“The concept has been that we, as a community, went through a rebuilding process and we received a degree of international support and attention and we’ve become a symbol of rebuilding and of resiliency,” said Gerson. “And so I felt given the support we received - we as a community should come to together and support the rebuilding of Haiti - epitomizing world citizenship. Mercy Corp was a natural partner.”
Senior Director of Development for Mercy Corps Eric Heffler said the proceeds will go to two programs currently operating on the ground in Haiti and will focus on the region of Mirabalais.
One program is called “Cash for Work” where Mercy Corp provides employment to 20,000 Haitians.
“We’re hiring them to clear the rubble, to make infrastructure repairs,” said Heffler. “We put money in their pockets, which in turn stimulates the local economy.”
The second is called “Comfort IV Kids.”
“We train caregivers to look after the psycho-social needs of the children in Haiti,” said Heffler. “There are so many tragedies these kids are trying to endure.”
So far Mercy Corps has raised over $14 million for recovery efforts Haiti.
“These different organizations got together and said that when 9/11 occurred, Lower Manhattan became the recipient of compassion from all over the world. Now, these people feel it is there opportunity to give back.”
To register for the event, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/116852 or call Janelle Wellman at 212-537-0506.