Monday, January 18, 2010

“Hops for Haiti”, held at Next Dor, Raises Over $620 for Haiti Earthquake Relief

Saturday night, January 16th, the place to be was Next Dor, the house dedicated to creating community for Jewish young adults, as over sixty people gathered to have a good time and raise money to help people in Haiti after last Tuesday’s devastating earthquake.

Organized by Roland Roth and Next Dor STL (now incorporated as a Missouri non-Profit), the “Hops for Haiti” program was conceived just 30 hours before as two young community leaders sat drinking hot chocolate at Scape Bistro in the Central West End. Both wanted to do something for those struggling in Haiti but didn’t know what to do. Roth’s father was born and raised in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and knew that many family and friends were either missing or presumed dead.

It was suggested that an event could be hosted at Next Dor to raise money and awareness, and “Hops for Haiti” was born. “It is important that Next Dor promote social action and a sense of collective responsibility through accessible and fun communal events,” said Yoni Sarason, Program Director for Next Dor, “and judging by the response we received, it is important to our peers as well.”

Within 30 hours Schlafly Brewing Company had given two kegs at employee pricing, donations by Miller and Magic Hat Brewing Companies came in, cups and Sharpies had been purchased, a Facebook Event Page had been started, and the text message/email/cell phone machine had been activated.

Neither expected to raise over $620 in one night, much less with one day’s notice, but that’s exactly what happened.

Roth was surprised that so many people came not because they got the Facebook invite or because they were associated with Next Dor but rather that they “heard about it from somebody who heard about it from somebody else.”

“One lady came in and said she was there for the ‘Haiti Hop’ and I said ‘Close enough’”, Roth laughs. “That this devastation in Haiti could cause so many people to give to great charities in so many ways and in so many methods, including text messages, is very cool.”

Aware that the money is needed immediately, as fresh water and food is becoming scarcer and the outlook increasingly bleak by the day, Roth and Sarason agreed that 100% of the proceeds would be given to American Jewish World Service’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.

AJWS created this fund to put particular focus “on aiding populations in the crisis zone that have not already been targeted for large-scale relief, such as poor and rural areas outside Port-au-Prince.” ( AJWS's long-standing partnerships in the region have enabled them to send funding directly to their grantees in hard-hit areas on the ground who have the knowledge and capacity to spend the money effectively where it is most immediately needed.

All money in this fund will:

Support search and rescue efforts by community volunteers
Provide food and shelter for survivors
Provide emergency health services and education to help reduce the second wave of casualties due to wounds, contamination from corpses and human waste
Clear roadways to facilitate rescue and distribution of emergency supplies
Provide emergency psychosocial support to survivors
Fund humanitarian aid being sent from the Haitian-Dominican community in the Dominican Republic that includes two mobile clinics, medical supplies, donations and volunteers
Support longer-term recovery (in the months following the earthquake) including rebuilding of community centers, clinics and schools; replanting of crops and farms to reestablish the local food supply and provide a source of income; and support to community-based organizations’ efforts to rebuild civil society.

No comments: