A Word From Our Executive Director
Earthquake in Haiti
Those of us watching the news lately, or listening to the radio, know that on January 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. Words like “horrific”, “devastating”, and “catastrophic” have been used frequently since then to describe the impact of the earthquake on Haiti, and the situation on the ground in this small poverty stricken country. There are over 70,000 recorded deaths, but it is estimated that over 200,000 people are dead, and over 3 million people are in need of food, water, shelter, and medical attention. Tens of thousands of children may be orphaned.
Countries, aid organizations, and individuals have responded with money, material goods, and aid workers. Millions of dollars has already been collected toward various Haiti Relief Funds, and millions more will be needed in the months and years to come to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake. A tragedy of this magnitude requires a huge coordinated joint effort. We can’t leave it up to the other guy to help the people of Haiti. We should all do what we can.
In response to the tragedy Webkinz Foundation put together a quick matching program with the employees of Ganz, the manufacturers and distributors of Webkinz. As soon as the program was announced to the employees donations came pouring in. Within a few days donations from Ganz employees totaled over $30,000.00. Webkinz Foundation went beyond the one to one match we originally intended, resulting in a total donation of $75,000.00 to UNICEF’s Haiti Relief Fund. UNICEF is on the ground in Haiti providing water, food, sanitation facilities, medical supplies, and temporary shelter.
In the coming months we should see buildings rebuilt and some semblance of normality restored to Port-au-Prince Haiti, and the surrounding areas. But there will be long term consequences for thousands of children, which will mean an increase in the demand for services from many non governmental agencies. Again, it will take a huge joint effort to help these children. I have already heard from organizations who are anticipating how this event will impact their service demands, and who are making the necessary provisions to help the children of Haiti. I will keep my eyes and ears open in the months to come to see how these efforts are progressing and how we can do our share to help.