We are so fortunate here in Woodstock to be able to help a local organization that has been involved in supporting the people of Haiti for 20 years. Local residents Terry and Pierre Leroy founded HPSP in 1990 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the poorest segments of Haiti’s population, and, in particular, the children. They began to do so by providing assistance to grass-roots community based projects such as: schools, orphanages, peasant/farmers cooperatives, health clinics, etc.
Their specific areas of interest are: healthcare, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries management, sanitation, and education. Prior to the earthquake, HPSP was actively promoting inter-cultural educational programs for Haitian and Dominican youth with the intention of fostering better cultural, political, and economic relations between the two countries.
The week after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, we ran a dinner special all week featuring Haitian food: Stewed chicken with riz et pois (red beans and rice) and picklese (spicy cabbage slaw) and gave all the proceeds ($450) to HPSP.
They told us the next week they had already been able to bring supplies in and that our donations along with those of many others in our community were really making a difference. Here are the most recent email updates from Terry about their progress in Haiti:
January 31, 2010
The Staff and the children of 3 of our orpnanages were very grateful for the food, medicines, and some blankets that were delivered to them last Saturday by HPSP volunteers through the Dominican Republic. As we prepare to send an other load shortly, through Santo Domingo, we’ve made more than $9,000 cash transfers to our people in the island. We’re making some steady progress in getting the aid to our people in the Port-Au-Prince and Petionville areas.
I renew connection with Dr. Georges and my sister-in- law Annette. Their houses collapsed but they’re ok and they’re both assisting other people getting food and shelter. Dr Georges has offered his clinic and labs in Port-Au-Prince to serve the HPSP relief effort. Our medical team will then have a safe base when they arrive in P-Au-P by mid-Febuary. Annette Pradieu is converting her own place of refuge (a nearby church) into a neighborhood shelter for people who lost their homes. We’re getting the work done by our people themselves.
The residents of the KOFA cooperative in the Central Plateau, have offered to open up their communities to others in need in Port-Au-Prince. We have restored our “people to people” functioning network in Haiti. This system allowed us to reach out to the most remote and isolated areas and also, to turn over 100% of the money and items we collect to the projects we support throughout the country. Several representative of farmers cooperatives have made an urgent request for tents, plastic tarps, sleeping materials and cold medicines.
We’re having a benefit concert tomorrow night at the Kingston epicospal church of Pine Grove St. in Kingston, NY at 3 PM with the wonderful singing choir: Art Choralis. By the way, someone has approached me about doing a poetry reading in Woodstock to benefit the HPSP’s relief effort. I thought you would be interested. I also thought we would use such an activity to get the schools of our area involved.
Let me know if you can help to make this happen.
February 15, 2010
As I write this update the Haitian Earthquake that struck at 4:53 PM on January 12th, is over a month old. The relief effort continues with urgency as now challenges face the survivors, including respiratory illness, dysentery and much more.* We just learned that in one of our orphanages over 8,000 feet above Port-au-Prince, where it is cold at night and the children are outside, that many now have asthma.
As you know our first shipment of food, water, medicine and clothing, reached our two orphanages, Maison d’Epsoir and La Creche, on that joyful day of January 23rd. Our next bus which will also be carrying tents is probably leaving for Haiti as we speak. A third bus is going to Carrefour (the epicenter) to help the family and neighbors, of a Haitian family living in Catskill, New York. This family suffered many deaths and so far has received no help. The Carrefour bus will be departing in about a week.
Equally exciting news is that 12 medical personnel, including 5 doctors, 3 of whom are Haitian, several nurses including a nurse midwife, and EMTs, want to go under HPSP auspices into Haiti, to work at the Thor Clinic outside of Port-au-Prince. They will also give followup care to the 400 children we support in our orphanages. An exploratory team of 5, including two doctors, one of who is Haitian, are planning to leave the first week in March. Part of their task is to access the needs so that the next team can follow up in early April.
None of these efforts would be possible with out the great outpouring of love, donations and energy that HPSP is the recipient of.
In peace and friendship,
Terry Leroy for HPSP
If you would like to donate to this wonderful organization, here is the link to their website