This past weekend, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that crumbled homes and buildings and killed more than 1,200 people. As relief organizations on the ground and around the world rush to help those directly affected, we at United Way of Massachusetts Bay are also thinking about our Haitian neighbors, coworkers, and friends right here in the Greater Boston area.
“I feel tired, so sad and helpless being here and seeing what’s going on in Haiti,” said Djena Jacques, a United Way employee from Haiti, “The last earthquake happened in January 2000, and in April and August 2000 I was in Haiti for a total of 4 weeks providing training for professionals on PTSD. Although it was tough, I felt like I was giving back to my country. I had to attend a series of trainings from January until April here with the Haitian Mental Health team and I was blessed to have the flexibility from work to be able to go.
“I feel like Haiti can’t catch a break.” Djena continues. “It’s such a beautiful country, it is devastating to see what’s happening there, politically speaking and through mother nature, which is out of anyone’s control. Nevertheless, the people of Haiti exude strength, togetherness and resiliency. Our motto is “L’union fait la force” which means “Unity is strength”, I am happy to see that a lot of organizations around the world are unifying to help Haiti, and a lot of local leaders are organizing and working hard to provide support and meet the basic needs of the people of Les Cayes. A lesson we learned from the last earthquake is that we are more aware of which organizations to send donations to that the people will actually receive.”
Boston has the 3rd largest Haitian community in the country (after Miami and New York). As we stand in solidarity with our Haitian neighbors, we want to share a few ways you can help the organizations providing immediate relief to those most impacted by this tragedy. As we continue to watch the tragedy unfold, we are closely monitoring ways people can help, and will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.
United Way of Miami-Dade and Miami Herald/Nuevo Herald have activated Operation Helping Hands to support and assist affected families with the short and long-term needs created by this unexpected tragedy. 100% of funds raised through Operation Helping Hands will be used to purchase relief items and services needed in Haiti during this time of crisis through non-profit organizations working on the ground. Please donate using this link.
The Haiti Development Institute (HDI) is a legacy of The Haiti Fund, a five-year fund established by the Boston Foundation to respond to Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010 in solidarity with the Greater Boston Haitian-American community. HDI channels disaster assistance to local Haitian organizations on the ground in affected communities, to provide relief while strengthening the community institutions that will be there to help victims cope in the short term and rebuild their lives by repairing agricultural infrastructure, replanting farms, replacing animals, rebuilding schools and more. Donations to HDI’s Earthquake Fund can be made here.
The Everett Haitian Community Center, a key collaborator with United Way on COVID response in the City of Everett, is working with Haitian residents in Everett who have families affected by the earthquake. Residents are sharing first-hand accounts of the devastation and their short-term needs, as their families face both the earthquake and the impending storm season. The Everett Haitian Community Center is collecting cash donations and critical items, including food, bedding, and school supplies, and will send them directly to those impacted by the disaster in Haiti.
Items can be delivered to:
Everett Haitian Community Center
427A Broadway, Everett, MA 02149
Shelter (Most important Now)
- Sleeping bags
- Mattress pads
- Red and black beans
- Carnation milk
- Canned milk
Kids backpacks with basic school supplies (notebooks, pens, pencils, etc).
Funds can also be donated via check or Zelle Bank of America (857-251-9866). Payable to Eben-Ezer Families and Childrens’ Services’ inc. Items will be collected and shipped to the Department of Grand-Anse – City of Jeremie, where the center will get the relief items to those in dire need.
Please join us in offering support and solidarity to the people of Haiti.