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Even before the 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated much of Haiti on January 12, 2010, it was one of the poorest countries on earth. The quake flattened the capital city of Port-au-Prince, killed 220,000, made 1.5 million people homeless and directly affected the livelihood of more than one-third of the country's population of 10.5 million. Scaled up to a comparison with the US, a similar quake would have killed over 6 million Americans and made over 40 million homeless – a disaster of unimaginable proportions. Haiti had none of the infrastructure required to cope with the consequences of a disaster of such magnitude. Relief funds poured into the country as many NGOs expanded their aid and charitable activities.

The parishioners of the newly-consolidated St. Brendan the Navigator parish in Mid-coast Maine agreed to widen the reach of the Caring Fund and launch a project in support of Haiti's earthquake victims.

“... St. Brendan the Navigator Parish has been very, very generous and responsive to the needs of these poorest brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please know that you are in their daily prayers.  We certainly invite either of you, or both, to join one of our pilgrimages to Jérémie should you have interest in meeting the people to whom you have been so kind... thank you for reaching out with a caring and compassionate hand to these people who have suffered so much, and have known so little love and peace in their lives....”


Jeremiah J. Lowney, Jr., DDS, MS, MPH

      President, Haitian Health Foundation  

The money was intended to help Haitians who had lost their small businesses and livelihoods through the earthquake. We knew we could not send the funds to just anyone and merely hope that they would reach the most deserving beneficiaries. The major microfinance organizations told us that they could not accept our donation because major donors were providing large funds and they did not have the personnel to employ and account for "small sums".

Our search of a suitable intermediary that could put the Caring Fund contribution to the intended use led us to the Haitian Health Foundation –  an organization that shares our values, is impeccably managed, and was enthusiastic about receiving our donation and applying it in accordance with the intentions of our parishioners. The main facilities of the HHF are located in Jérémie in the western part of Haiti, where people depend on subsistence farming, charcoal production, and other menial jobs for their livelihood. Almost impossible to believe, the average income is between US$0.25 and US$1 per day.

   In this setting, the 2010 Caring Fund donation has made a huge difference in the lives of many families who had literally lost everything they had owned through the earthquake. Typically, carefully selected beneficiaries received funds to re-launch their businesses by buying raw materials or inventories. As they resumed trading, they generated funds for more purchases. After several rounds of restocking and selling, most beneficiaries started to see first light at the end of the tunnel.

Below, is an excerpt from a letter for appreciation written by the president of the Haitian Health Foundation. You may read the full text of the letter HERE.

Haiti: Earthquake

Despite hard economic times at home, our parishioners gave $32,000 in a magnificent response to the needs of the least of our brethren, more than they had donated for any other Caring Fund project.