As Cross Catholic Outreach’s Haiti Project Manager – and someone who has lived in Haiti for six years – it’s impossible for me to be objective about the impact of Hurricane Matthew. It’s been three months since the killer storm battered Haiti’s southern peninsula, and yet I feel the raw pain of the people as if it had all happened just yesterday.
Unfortunately, that sense of urgency isn’t something I’m seeing elsewhere. In fact, public interest shifted away from Haiti pretty rapidly, and resources are being directed elsewhere now. There is no one to blame for this – it is simply a fact – but it creates incredible challenges for a charity like Cross.
And doesn’t Christ call us to something greater at times like these? I believe the Lord does. I believe Jesus would have us stand by our brothers and sisters in Haiti for the long haul and help them recover and rebuild.
At Cross Catholic Outreach, we certainly believe that is the case. And that is what gives me the greatest hope. I’m proud of the fact that we were ready to address Haiti’s needs within days of Hurricane Matthew’s impact – sending urgently needed food, medicines and supplies to those who were most affected – and that we continue to be a positive force in the recovery efforts there. To date, we have delivered 4.5 million meals, and have delivered 3,500 sheets of metal roofing, along with wood and nails to construct temporary classrooms for school children. All the kids are now back in classrooms, thanks to the many American benefactors who funded those efforts.
When I reflect on this commitment, it reminds me of a college roommate, now a Marine Corps instructor, who used to share an important motto of the Marines: first to fight, last to leave. As a ministry, we aspire to embody the same principles. We look to stand with our partners in times of peril, and remain with them when their recovery takes time.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, we went to battle right away, and we will continue to fight until the field is won. We will rebuild schools, clinics and homes; ship urgently needed food; and help to re-establish the farms and reforest communities to ensure long-term recover.
Please continue to pray for the poor of Haiti and open your heart to their ongoing needs. And give generously. These people need our help more than ever!