Tag Archives: Haitian Families First

Milk Money: IMMEDIATE need for @HaitianFam1st

16 Mar

Kervens smile, holding milkSo often giving money to a charity is abstract.  You donate to an organization, that organization works on research or advocacy or “awareness” or sometimes even concrete projects.  Still, it’s rare to fully get your head wrapped around exactly what your dollars and cents are doing.   And of course everyone has their own pet projects, so it seems for every contribution you make, 3 more organizations or friends promoting organizations come up who need help as well.  I, again, find myself joining this chorus.  But this time the need is immediate and the results tangible.

I love supporting Haitian Families First because this is a bare-bones organization and you really SEE how your contribution is making a difference.  There are some necessary administrative costs (as there are with every organization, but HFF does a good job of keeping these down), but other than that, the money goes directly to the mission itself: Helping Haitian families.  And most importantly, helping Haitian families help themselves.  HFF focuses on projects that enable families to become self-sufficient. Amazing things all around.

But in an organization like this, there is no margin for error.  You depend on everything going right, because it has to go right, because there’s no room to catch up if it doesn’t.  And recently, HFF hit an unexpected roadblock and needs some help.  The latest shipment of milk and formula was contaminated.  Here in the US, we could just take it back to the store and demand a replacement.  Things aren’t that easy in Haiti, especially when you have a whole lot of people to feed. They need to ship in replacement milk and they need to pay for medical services for the kids who got sick.  No money means no milk. And no money means no medicine.

HFF is running a campaign through CrowdTilt for the money they need to get the extra milk (and get it fast).  The full campaign isn’t looking for that much and every little donation will help.  Think about how much you pay for a gallon of milk at the store… $5? $6?  Maybe you’ll kick that cash towards these kids who definitely need it.  I contributed today.  I hope you will too.

Milk Week: Help Haitian Children Access Milk

Today! Today! Today! Party time with .@HaitianFam1st !!

31 Jan

Today is the day! It’s the Haitian Families First Back to School Party!
I’m excited for all this to come together. Great sponsors have stepped up, we’ll be rockin out with The Standard Band and we’ve got really awesome gift baskets to raffle off. I feel especially blessed to have AWESOME friends who put together a HUGE wine basket (16 bottles!!) for the raffle auction!
Now I just have to tie up a few loose ends, and shuttle like 3 car loads worth of stuff to Bricolage, and then it’s time to PARTY!! See yinz all tonight!!


Haitian Families First @HaitianFam1st

24 Oct

As a proud alumna of the CORO Women in Leadership Program, I have become a member of the CORO Pittsburgh Alumni Council (CPAC).  I was very excited to host a CPAC breakfast meeting at my firm yesterday, and was especially excited to hear our guest speaker, Ali McMutrie of Haitian Families First.

Ali McMutrie and the CORO CPAC crew

Ali and her sister Jamie have been volunteering at an orphanage in Haiti since the early 2000’s.  What struck Ali most powerfully about the orphanage was that many of the children there are not orphans.  They have families that love them and want to keep them, but are so incredibly impoverished that their only option is to give their child away.  When the earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Jamie and Ali were incredibly able to arrange for safe transport for all of the children in their care to immediately leave Haiti for their adoptive placements (which were already in progress, but not finalized).

Although the earthquake literally flattened everything Ali and Jamie had worked on and for, their hearts were in Haiti.  They knew that they could not go back to the status quo cycle of poverty.  Ali and Jamie then founded the nonprofit organization Haitian Families First, that works with families to keep families together.  Sometimes all it takes is a supply of formula.  Tragically, it is not infrequent for mothers to die in childbirth in Haiti.  The child is then usually left with family members, but none of them can breastfeed, and they can’t afford formula for the child either.  Supplying a family with formula can mean the difference between a family being torn apart, or being able to stay together.

HFF also works on providing tuition assistance for children to be able to attend school.  It only costs $180 per year for a Haitian child to go to school (and that includes tuition, uniforms, books, etc), but that is more than many Haitian families earn in two months.  HFF also works to provide basic medical care for families that could otherwise not afford it.  A simple untreated ailment like diarrhea can cause an infant’s death, and HFF can provide the medical cost assistant to get that very basic, but very vital medical service.

The fundamental principle of HFF is self sufficiency.  Ali reported several stories of families that came to them in the most dire poverty, and HFF was able to provide that little bit of help to staunch the bleed, so that the family was able to work through some hard times, and ultimately d0 for themselves.

HFF is a truly incredible organization, and Ali and Jamie’s devotion to this cause is so phenomenal.  They are truly doing good work.  Ali is going to be in Pittsburgh through at least the end of the year, working on fundraising for HFF.  I would LOVE to help this organization, so now I’m starting to rack my brain about what I can plan to help them out.  While it is always AWESOME to make a simple donation to them, I’m thinking it would be fun to plan some kind of small event or happy hour to benefit them.  Hm, what to do, what to do….

If you happen to be going to PodCamp Pittsburgh (how I wish, wish, wish I could make it! Next year! I promise!), Ali will be speaking there about how to use social media to meet immediate nonprofit needs.  Her talk is sure to be awesome and informative, and I hope you check it out!!