Red Cross links local social service agencies
Feb. 2, 2010
Our community has incredibly caring people and strong ties with Haiti. Even as we have witnessed the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake, we also have seen a great outpouring of compassion here in central Illinois.
The Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter held a Haiti Community Forum to offer local social service organizations a chance to tell the public, and each other, about the type of assistance that each is providing in Haiti.
Participants described their relief activities so that we could work together to be even more effective, through referrals and information-sharing.
At right is a map created by Harley Jones, Red Cross Emergency Services director. If your central Illinois organization is helping in Haiti and you would like to be added to the map, please e-mail Harley.
Below is a list of organizations that participated in the Feb. 2 Haiti Community Forum. For information about how each group is helping, please click on the organization's name.
This map shows different sites in Haiti where central Illinois social service agencies are working.
View Haiti Community Forum in a larger map
SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES
- American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria
- Friends of the Children of Haiti
- Haitian Hearts
- Haiti Mission Connection, Inc.
- Hands Helping Haiti Water Project
- Midwest Food Bank
- Northwest United Methodist Church
- Salvation Army Heartland Division
311 W. John H. Gwynn Jr. Ave., Peoria, IL 61605 | Phone: (309) 677-7272 | Web site: www.redcrossillinois.org
Represented by: Harley Jones, director of emergency services
ABOUT: Founded by Clara Barton in 1881, the Red Cross mission is to provide relief to victims of disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The Red Cross is a charitable humanitarian organization. The American Red Cross is also part of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. Locally, the Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter is one of more than 700 chapters across the nation. Chartered in 1916, the chapter has a proud history of assisting and educating adults and children. The Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter serves 700,000 people in 10 counties.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: The scope and abilities of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network are on display as never before in Haiti. More than 430 Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from at least 30 nations are in the country supporting thousands of local volunteers. The relief operation is already the largest single-country personnel deployment in global Red Cross history. Red Cross responders are treating about 500 people each day at medical facilities throughout Port-au-Prince. An additional 100-bed Red Cross field hospital arrived and has been set up in the Carrefour soccer stadium.
Other Red Cross teams are focused on purifying the water supply and are delivering clean drinking water to 400,000 people each day. So far, more than 2 million liters of water has been distributed. Locally, the chapter is working to support the Haitian relief and development effort. Local volunteers are ready to provide care and assistance to Haitian residents and their families. The Red Cross has well-trained case workers and disaster health specialists prepared to help families cope with the physical and emotional distress suffered during and after the earthquake. Families in need of assistance are encouraged to call the chapter.
On Feb. 6, Peoria volunteer Bob Wiltz deployed to the USNS Comfort to provide psychological support to Creole interpreters who are translating between patients and medics.
2900 W. Heading Ave., West Peoria, IL 61604 | Phone: (309) 636-8000 | Web site: www.ccdop.org
Represented by: Sue Hirschman, volunteer coordinator
ABOUT: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria is the official social service agency of the Peoria Diocese, an area covering 26 counties in central Illinois. With nearly 400 dedicated staff members and 2,350 caring volunteers, Catholic Charities strives to provide help and create hope to anyone in need regardless of race, religion or economic status.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria, in accordance with Catholic Charities USA, is referring all inquiries regarding Haitian relief to Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. CRS, along with Caritas Dominicana, an international Catholic Human Services Organization, will be taking the lead role in the disaster relief efforts. This organization has been involved in Haiti for the past several years and has developed a relationship with the people of Haiti which aligns with our core values regarding disaster relief.
The work of CRS and Caritas Dominicana volunteers include 18 hour days in efforts to bring much needed supplies and comfort to the Haitians. The locations for Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in Haiti are:
- Petionville Port-Au-Prince — this is a golf course which is now a refugee camp with approximately 80,000 Haitians—food and water are being distributed here through Catholic Relief Services
- St Francois de Sales Hospital Port-Au-Prince — this is a hospital or what is left to a hospital, Catholic Relief is providing medical supplies (AIDS Relief consortium, which includes CRS and the University of Maryland, had been working with St. Francois before the earthquake)
We have put a link on our web site (www.ccdop.org) to CRS with all the information and updates needed to make a timely donation as well as informing all of our Branch Offices to refer the potential donors to CRS as well.
The Diocese of Peoria under the suggestion of the United State Catholic Conference of Bishops also took up a second collection on Jan. 17 in all the Catholic Churches throughout the Diocese. This money is also being forwarded to CRS for Haitian Relief Services. Both of these efforts will continue until the people of Haiti are out of eminent danger.
Furthermore, as a member of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services we have been monitoring the international adoption issues that have arisen in Haiti. As such, the following are the guidelines we offer to those with questions regarding Haitian adoptions:
- Currently the only adoptions that are being completed in or for Haitian children are those that were initiated and near completion when the earthquake hit. JCICS and other international organizations have been active in helping US parents find their referred child. These adoptions will continue as best as possible.
- The country of Haiti is closed now with regards to any new adoption. It can be extremely difficult in such circumstances to determine whether children who appear to be orphans truly are eligible for adoption. Children may be temporarily separated from their parents or other family members during a natural disaster or conflict, and their parents may be looking for them. It is not uncommon in an emergency or unsettled situation for parents to send their children out of the area, or for families to become separated during an evacuation. Even when it can be demonstrated that children have indeed lost their parents or have been abandoned, they are often taken in by other relatives in the extended family (Department of State Web site).
P.O. Box 789, Peoria, IL 61652 | Phone: (309) 369-2634 | Web site: www.fotcoh.org/home.html
Represented by: Phil Luciano, volunteer
ABOUT: This Peoria-based, all-volunteer not-for-profit organization runs a medical clinic in Cyvadier, Haiti. Inside the 6,000-square-foot building, the main floor consists of 11 rooms, including exam and surgical areas, plus a pharmacy. The second story offers a kitchen and dining room, plus two bathrooms, four open sleeping rooms and access to a deck overlooking the sea. The top floor includes an open sleeping area, a bathroom and access to the roof which supports solar panels and a windmill that collect power. It annually serves 15,000 patients of all ages who otherwise could afford no medical, surgical or dental care. The locals refer to them as “The House of Life” for their dependability.
In its 25th year, Friends of the Children of Haiti now staffs six two-week teams annually. Team volunteers work side-by-side with experienced FOTCOH personnel, treating people who otherwise will go without any medical attention. Its services, detailed at www.fotcoh.org, also include a child-sponsorship program.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: The organization’s January team arrived just after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. In addition to handling the regular case load, its volunteers have been aiding quake victims with follow-up care, including surgeries. Friends of the Children of Haiti will continue to monitor the medical needs near its clinic and respond accordingly.
ABOUT: Haitian Hearts’ mission is two-fold:
- To bring children and young adults to the United States for life-saving heart surgery. Since 1995, Haitian Hearts has brought 140 patients to 10 states and counting for surgery.
- To work in clinics and hospitals in Haiti providing basic medical care, including medicines and diagnostic testing.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: The organization’s mission has expanded since the earthquake to include providing financial assistance directly to those who have been affected by this devastating natural disaster.
We are continuing to bring children to the U.S. for heart surgery. We've had one child accepted since the earthquake. Besides the obvious benefit to the child and her family, one additional benefit that we've found is that having Haitian children in American communities personalizes the developing world for the host families and other who come into contact with these children. Many people have gone to Haiti, kept in touch with the children and in other ways contributed to the betterment of Haiti as a result of meeting these children.
Our main earthquake relief is sending money to people affected. We do take medications when we go to Haiti and gladly accept donations of these.
P.O. Box 1393, Peoria, IL 61654 | Phone: 674-4500 | Web site: www.haitimissionconnection.org
Represented by: Dr. Martha Willi, president
ABOUT: The goal of this more than 20-year-old organization is to provide moral, spiritual and financial assistance to the people of Haiti in the area known as Sud-Est (Southeast) in and around the village of Bodarie. HMCI is a not-for-profit corporation. All transportation costs to Haiti are paid by the travelers who volunteer for HMCI's mission trips. Therefore, all contributions are used for medicine and medical supplies, plus public service, ranging from clothing to water.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: For the last 11 years HMCI has worked in Bodarie; its main projects have been to introduce a program of water purification, which is done by individual households. HMCI:
• Pays the salary of technicians who monitor the correct use of the systems and provide instruction and repairs as necessary.
• Provides medical care, paying the salary of a full-time nurse and gives money for the purchase of medicines for the clinic.
• Supports the school, in that it gives money toward teachers' salaries, provides school supplies and has paid for textbooks.
HMCI holds medical clinics to teach nurse and community health workers the treatment regimens for many commonly encountered diseases. Its basic principle has been that Haitians are the ones who can best improve their circumstances. HMCI would like to provide help, materials and money for them to do this. Thus, its work continues even though the earthquake has made travel impossible in the near future. Willi’s daughter, Ann Schwingel, is working in Haiti on a two-year contract in the city of Jeremie.
P.O. Box 58, Tiskilwa, IL 61368 | Web site: www.haitiwaterproject.org
Represented by: Patrick Sloan
ABOUT: This project’s mission is to “help our sisters and brothers in Haiti obtain safe drinking water to help break the cycle of poverty.” The project works with communities in Southeast Haiti to develop safe drinking water supplies. With community workers, it installs bio-sand filters in homes to provide safe drinking water for a family, which prevents sickness, missed school and work, high infant mortality and premature death caused by drinking unsafe water.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: Hands Helping Haiti works with people in the Hinche and Savanette area. It has four Haitian staff members and more than 100 sponsorship families. To best of the organization’s knowledge, all have survived the earthquake. The medical team will be traveling to the Savanette Clinic site in coming months and expects to see people with complications from the earthquake. Many of the houses of sponsorship children were damaged and destroyed, and Hands Helping Haiti will be rebuilding them as best it can. Its school appears to be stable and the group will be working with teachers to restart classes as soon as possible. Water filters installed by the group have been very helpful in the aftermath of the earthquake.
The group is planning to start production of the filters in the Jacmel area by summer and to provide at least 50 more families each month with clean, safe drinking water. The filters cost $40 each to build, and the organization is in need of a truck.
Funding is the largest challenge at this point. This group also needs medical personnel, specifically doctors.
9005 N Industrial Road, Peoria, IL 61615 | Phone: (309) 691-5270 | Web site: www.midwestfoodbank.org
Represented by: Larry Herman, director
ABOUT: Midwest Food Bank is a faith-based, nondenominational, not-for-profit organization started in 2003 when the Kieser family began providing food out of a building on their family farm. Today it serves approximately 500 organizations across the Midwest. It receives donated food from food manufacturers, distributors, grocers, community and organizational food drives, and from individual donations of food and money. It distributes more than $1 million in food each month. Nearly all contributions go directly towards program expenses by utilizing volunteers.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: Sisters Mission Outreach in Springfield has asked Midwest Food Bank to help with disaster relief efforts in Haiti. On Jan. 15, First Aid supplies, vitamins, water and food supplies were transported to Coconut Creek, Fla. The items were then shipped to Haiti on a U.S. Naval vessel. That week, a second truckload from Midwest Food Bank transported additional supplies and food as designated by relief personnel, and provisions were supplied to 12 doctors from the Peoria area who went to Haiti.
This organization is collecting items for health kits.
3800 W. War Memorial Drive, Peoria, IL 61615 | Phone: (309) 692-0421
Represented by: Kathy Becker, member
ABOUT: Northwest United Methodist Church (NWUMC) is a congregation of members dedicated to knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ. One important means of serving Christ is through mission work, and the church has a very active and involved missions program. Since 2004, five mission teams have gone to Haiti. A sixth team was scheduled to be in Haiti at this time, but travel difficulties required postponing the trip. Additional teams or individuals have gone to Brazil, Africa and Estonia, as well as to Louisiana to assist with Hurricane Katrina victims.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: NWUMC, in relationship with the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and the Waves of Mercy Mission, has worked alongside the Haitian people since 2003. Members of NWUMC have assisted in supporting one of the largest medical clinics, birthing centers and orphanages outside of Port-Au-Prince. To date, the church has also assisted in feeding more than 80,000 meals to malnourished children. The current effort is to gather crucial and currently unavailable supplies requested by these two missions that were to be trucked to Frankfort, Ky., on Jan. 29 and then on to the docks in Miami on Feb. 1. Within five days, these supplies are to arrive on the north shore of Haiti and be off-loaded directly to mission vehicles.
401 NE Adams St., Peoria, IL 61603 | Phone: (309) 655-7220 | Web site: www.usc.salvationarmy.org/HEARTLAND
Represented by: Major Charles Smith, divisional commander
ABOUT: The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London by William Booth, a former Methodist minister turned evangelist who began preaching in the slums. The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian church, although distinctive in government and practice. Its objectives are the advancement of the Christian religion ... of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: The Salvation Army is mobilizing resources and personnel to assist with the international relief effort in Haiti. The Salvation Army has had a presence in Haiti since 1950 and currently operates schools, clinics, a hospital, feeding programs, children's homes and church-related activities spread across two major facilities in Port-au-Prince. Monetary donations and prayer are the two most critical needs as supplies and personnel are mobilized.
100 NE Monroe, Room 100, Peoria, IL 61602 | Phone: (309) 671-7027 | Web site: http://schock.house.gov
Represented by: Tiffany Tebben, constituent services specialist
ABOUT: The 18th U.S. Congressional District of Illinois is represented by Congressman Aaron Schock, R-Peoria.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: The office of Congressman Aaron Schock has announced it is able to help families who are already in the process of adopting children from Haiti. Schock’s office is working with the State Department and Homeland Security Department to facilitate the new U.S. policy that grants Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for children already in the adoption process, including some children who had already been paired with U.S. parents and are considered by the Haitian government to at least be available for adoption. By acquiring TPS, these Haitian children will be allowed to come to the US immediately, be united with their adoptive parents, and complete the final stages of the adoption process in the safety of their new country.
2600 NE Adams St. Peoria, IL 61603 | Phone: (309) 688-9523 | Web site: www.peoriacharter.com
Represented by: Cindy Winkler
ABOUT: Peoria Charter Coach is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated business with over 60 years of continuous service.
HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS: For volunteers from social service agencies deploying to Haiti, the Winkler family would like to extend the availability to provide transportation to and from Chicago airports at no charge. Please contact Peoria Charter Coach.