Helping Haiti For The Holidays
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Haiti is still in rough shape after January's massive earthquake. Some local churches hope people will remember the country's struggles during this holiday season.
Ben Valcin knows about the need in Haiti.
"Some of them even don't have the tents to live in, so it's a big need," said Valcin, a Haiti native.
Valcin was in Haiti during January's earthquake, but moved here in February to get married. He met his wife when his choir visited Rochester in 2008. The Ti-Zwazo choir is now coming back for three performances in January.
"You get to see the resiliency of the people," said Brenda Reding of Edgewood Free Methodist Church, which is hosting the choir.
Advance ticket sales will pay for the trip, something Reding hopes people will keep in mind during the holidays.
"It's a gift that really $10 you get a lot for the money," said Reding. "You get to experience and hear the stories of the people in their own words."
Any additional money will help send local engineers back to Haiti.
"It's a big problem," said civil engineer Scott DeHollander. "We can by very effective."
DeHollander and his team are helping Haitians to rebuild the right way. With no real building codes in the country it's a tall order.
"The education component with seismic design just is not part of their construction industry or their design industry," said DeHollander. "That needs to be addressed.
It's not just money that's needed. Toys will make a real difference in the lives of Haitian kids, who right now don't have a lot of play with.
"I can only imagine when they do receive a stuffed animal or a toy truck," said Pastor Joe Joyner of Jesus Christ The Chief Cornerstone Ministries.
The church holds a toy drive for kids in Rochester every year. After delivering hygiene supplies to the Haitian city of Jacmel, Joyner decided to collect toys for kids there as well.
"If they were that grateful for a toothbrush and toothpaste, they will be even more grateful to actually have something that they’ll be able to enjoy as being a child," said Joyner.
Valcin says any way people can help during the holidays will mean so much to Haitians who are struggling to rebuild their lives.
"To find something good, to find the food, to find the toys for the kids to be able to enjoy their time, will help them forget about the earthquake," said Valcin.
Quite a gift indeed.
"Haiti – Hear, Hope, Help" – a multimedia cultural exchange experience in which staggering Haitian earthquake stories will be told by Haiti's Choir Ti-Zwazo.
7 p.m. January 12 at Edgewood Free Methodist Church, 250 Edgewood Avenue in Brighton
7 p.m. January 19 at Roberts Wesleyan College Cultural Life Center, 2301 West Side Drive in North Chili
Tickets: $10. For advance tickets, call (585) 244-9200, email the church at email@example.com or click here to order from the church's website. (Online ticket sales require an additional $1 processing fee.)
Toy Drive Information
Toys can be dropped off at Jesus Christ The Chief Cornerstone Ministries.
Address: 105 Norton Street in Rochester
Phone: (585) 360-2636