As the devastation of the tragic earthquake in Haiti continues to linger in our minds, on the news, and in our communities, we wanted to share additional resources and ideas we have developed and compiled over the last few weeks that may be helpful for your work with students on campus.
These are just a few suggestions as the hard work of rebuilding and recovery begins. We are proud of the stories of Hillels across the country who have initiated an incredible response to the tragedy are emerging constantly. We encourage you to continue sharing your efforts with us and with each other so together we can work collaboratively as a united Jewish student community to support Hatians everywhere. We are also moved by the inspiring, strong, and immediate commitment Israel has made to relief efforts in Haiti captivated in Jewish newspapers nationally.
This is also an opportunity to have deeper conversations with students about what it truly means to repair the world¸ to be in a place of privilege and responsibility, and where the “I” fits in. The devastation in Haiti is a reminder that our role at Hillel is to galvanize students in their next Jewish journey steps, and to help complete Hillel’s mission to “enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may….enrich the world.” In the coming weeks, we will be developing a more a in depth curricula to explore these issues and questions so keep an eye out for more information.
Host a Cell Phone Drive – ReCellular Inc., a company owned by Chuck Newman, a member of the Hillel International Board of Directors, has partnered with the Red Cross in a major effort to send reprogrammed functional cell phones to Haiti called “Phones for Haiti”. Host a campus cell phone drive and contribute phones to the cause. All phones that can’t be used in Haiti will be sold and the proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross for relief efforts.
Fundraise Now for Organizations in Haiti – There are currently approximately 90 NGOs on the ground working in Haiti, all of which are in critical need of cash now to keep their operations going. Raise awareness and money on campus through Jewish networks on campus and donate to the organization of your choice. Below are a few suggestions of both Jewish and non-Jewish organization accepting contributions:
- Clinton Bush Haiti Fund – fund established jointly by our two most recent presidents. Donate online or send a text message reading “quake” to 2222 and it will make an automatic $10 donation
- Partners in Health – an aid organization long history of working to provide medical services in Haiti
- American Jewish World Service - provides grants and on-the-ground service around the world to alleviate hunger, poverty and disease and currently supports several Haitian organizations
- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America) – nearly 100 years of experience in emergency relief, both in the Jewish community and beyond. Donate online or text “JDCHAITI” to 85944 make an automatic $10 donation.
- Yéle Haiti - working on the ground before the latest tragedy to build capacity and raise awareness about Haiti
As you fundraise, think about awareness raising as well – who are the people of Haiti? How is this a Jewish and universal imperative?
Collect and Send In-Kind Material Donations - Although fundraising is currently the first priority, there are number of physical items needed. You can check the USAID website for information on what’s needed and how to send it to Haiti.
Support and Reach Out to Local U.S. Haitian Communities – Haitian communities around the country are shocked about the recent tragedy in their home country. Support is needed for local communities as families search for their loved ones and support those who have lost everything at home. There are particularly large populations of Haitian Americans in Boston, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, Georgia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Research local Hatian communities near your campus and find out how your dollars or volunteer time can best help.
Build Partnerships with Campus Advocacy and Aid Organizations – There are likely many other campus organizations and student groups creating Haiti relief fundraising and support initiatives. Leverage your Hillel’s support by collaborating with other campus organizations doing similar work and combine efforts toward a shared goal. These may include chapters of Oxfam or Haitian special interest groups who are likely already engaged in relief efforts too.
Donate Blood or Host a Blood Drive - The immense number of critically injured victims in Haiti has greatly diminished the local blood supply so the Red Cross has increased its number of blood drives this year to meet the additional need. Even if your campus already hosts an annual blood drive, consider hosting supplementary drives to compensate for this major strain on the blood supply.
Lead an Alternative Break Trip to Haiti – Many have voiced interest in sending students to Haiti for trips in the coming months. Currently, only skilled volunteers are being allowed into the country but we will definitely be exploring this option in the future as longer term needs become more apparent. Our focus now should be on helping the victims as well as building capacity for the thousands of French and Creole speaking medical volunteers who are still waiting for adequate resources to be housed and fed before they can start working on the ground.
TAKE ACTION TODAY!