USAG Schinnen footprint shows 'unconditional generosity' with Haiti relief fundraisers
February 17, 2010
- Tri-Border organizations raise over $10,000
- International community unites for worthy cause
SCHINNEN, Netherlands - More than $10,000 has been raised by dozens of organizations and individuals around the Tri-Border region to support ongoing relief efforts in Haiti after a devastating earthquake claimed more than 250,000 lives and leveled most of the small Caribbean nation Jan. 12.
The JFC Brunssum International Chapel was one of the first to launch a donation effort in the Tri-Border. Following a declaration by the Army Chief of Chaplains, all Army Chapels designated their offerings on the last two weeks of January for the people of Haiti, according to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Glen McFarland, USAG Schinnen's Garrison Chaplain, who is dual hated in a joint role at NATO's JFC headquarters in Brunssum, Netherlands.
But the JFC Chapel didn't stop there. Administrators continued accepting donations through mid-February for Haiti relief and channeled those to the American Red Cross, which had been designated to receive all Army Chapel Haiti relief offerings.
"I think it says a lot when you consider the urgency of the need and the willingness of our people to give so much on such short notice," McFarland said. "That is unconditional generosity."
Aid came from all corners of the globe in the days that followed the 7.0 earthquake. Some experts estimated it will take $3.5 billion annually to rebuild Haiti over the next four years. International charities and government representatives are debating how to manage the reconstruction funds, while people like Staff Sgt. Jeri Catus and her husband, Staff Sgt. Alfredo Burroughs, recognize that donations are critical.
Not content with just writing a check, Catus and Burroughs organized a fundraiser at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base called "Hotcakes for Haiti," earmarking all proceeds for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief effort. With more than 30 volunteers and backing from the GK chapter of TEAM 5-6, a professional organization of Air Force Staff and Tech Sergeants, they sold over 250 plates of hotcakes and sausages in just three hours, Feb. 10.
"This speaks volumes about this community," Catus said afterwards. "We may not all be from the same nation but together we are all family here . . . and when you need us, you can count on us."
According to a progress report released by the American Red Cross just one month after its relief work began in Haiti, the organization raised approximately $255 million for Haiti relief and already spent or committed $80 million of that for food, water and shelter. The Red Cross also deployed 100 aid workers immediately following the earthquake. Relief organizations from around the globe sent countless more.
"We can't hop a plane and go to Haiti, but we can do something to help," mused 12th-grader Hannah Lenart, as she strummed her guitar entertaining a long line of hungry customers at a breakfast fundraiser hosted by AFNORTH International School's Student-2-Student organization, Feb. 5.
The breakfast was one of many Haiti fundraisers that have taken place at AFNORTH in recent weeks, including a bake sale and dodgeball tournament. Several classes also collected donations, and the German section is hosting a charity luncheon, Feb. 23.
The school elected to direct all donations to a special Haiti relief fund set up by the Canadian government, which Canada has promised to match dollar for dollar and thereby maximize the students' contributions, explained Andrea Smith, teacher advisor for the Student-2-Student organization.
"It's really inspiring to see how the students from all these different nations here at AFNORTH come together and do something positive to support a global effort," Smith said.