Cara Hedgepeth>Journalism>University of Maryland
No matter the size of their bank accounts, Americans have responded to the tragedy in Haiti by giving generously.
The magnitude 7 earthquake that hit near Port-au-Prince, the island’s capital on Jan. 12, killed an estimated 200,000 people and left even more homeless and in desperate need.
On top of personal contributions, celebrities have joined forces to support “Hope for Haiti Now: a Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief.” According to the group’s website, the organization rushes donations to a host of relief groups including The American Red Cross and Partners for Health.
The Hope for Haiti Now telethon aired globally on Jan. 22 on several major networks. George Clooney hosted from Los Angeles, and Haiti native Wyclef Jean hosted from New York City. The two hour show featured speakers and musical performances, including some traditional Haitian music. Celebrities answered the phones as callers pledged donations. According to the group’s Donation Services department, between the funds raised from the telethon, donations on their website and proceeds from the sale of the digital album and video of the telethon, the organization has raised an estimated $66 million.
College students are making an impact too. Several student organizations on the University of Maryland campus are holding events to show their support and raise funds for Haiti. After seeing the devastation on television, junior Patrick Quinn decided he could not just sit back and do nothing, so he took action.
“I emailed the president of our fraternity and said we had to get involved,” said Quinn.
Quinn started “Greeks for Haiti,” an organization to get sorority women and fraternity men involved in the relief efforts. As soon as he reached out to other chapters, they responded immediately. Several chapters have already donated money.
Quinn also wanted to get local restaurants involved. Starting Jan. 25, “Greeks for Haiti” hosted a week of benefit nights at local restaurants. Each night, a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds went to the World Food Programme.
“I chose this program because it worked well with the dine-out in College Park to help those who can’t dine in Haiti–it was all about the food,” said Quinn.
While the total of donations and proceeds is not yet known, Quinn says, “it has been really cool to see not just the Greek community but the whole UMD community get involved.”
Quinn is not alone in his efforts to give back. Several other groups on campus have organized events to benefit Haiti. Maryland’s Caribbean Students Association held a candle light vigil and fundraising dinner on Jan. 28 and the Maryland Hillel plans to hold a “Shabbat in Support of Haiti.”