Gore Bay Rotarians to host Haiti fundraising dinner

GORE BAY—The Gore Bay Rotary Club will be holding a fundraising dinner to raise funds to feed children who are living in poverty in Bas Limbe, Haiti.

“This fundraising dinner has been in the works for a little while, after some of our members had visited the Haiti night fundraising dinner in Mindemoya in late October,” said Sal Brunetti, a member of the Gore Bay Rotary Club, last week. “Huguette Ray, one of the members of the medical and construction personnel team, headed to Haiti in January and JoEllen Sloss (a Rotary Club member) had both attended and a lot of people are interested in the event. We thought it would be good to hold a similar type dinner fundraising event here.”

The Gore Bay Rotary Club-sponsored Haiti fundraising dinner is going to be held on Wednesday, January 15 at 6 pm at the Gore Bay Community Hall.

As reported previously, a local group of 12 medical and construction personnel are headed to the Haitian clinic Dr. Tiffany Keenan founded in Bas Limbe. The fundraising dinner in Mindemoya had been held to raise funds to feed children who are living in poverty, with over 150 people attending that dinner and well over $5,000 raised.

Ms. Ray, a member of the Haiti team 2014, introduced the rest of the members of the team including registered nurses (RN) Debbie and Glenn Hallett, Larry and Laura Watson (RN), Dr. Mike Bedard, who spearheaded the project, paramedics Bill Cranston and Monic-Rochon Shaw, nurse practitioner Tara Rollins, (RN) Angie Panton, Dr. Nick Jeeves and Michelle Noble (RN).

All the members of the team will be paying for their own trip to Haiti. Ms. Rochon-Shaw told the Mindemoya gathering, “we are not raising funds for our trip. What we are raising money for this evening is that Haiti suffers from malnutrition, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and we are raising funds for medika mumba, which in Haitian means medicinal peanut butter, for children. One hundred percent of the funds being raised tonight is going towards that.”

Ms. Rochon-Shaw pointed out the medika mumba has an 85 percent success rate in boosting children’s nutrition and weight. “The prior nutrition bars they had provided for children in this program always used milk-based products and they only had an 25 percent success rate (in providing the necessary nutrients for a child to grow bigger).”

On a video screen, everyone in attendance had the opportunity to see a before and after photograph of young Haitian child Marie-Ange, which showed the benefits of her having been on the program. “She was two-and-a-half pounds when she was presented for the program and after having gone through the program she was 20 pounds,” said Ms. Rochon-Shaw.

A 15-minute video was then played, explaining the work the Haiti team 2014 will be carrying out in Haiti.

Ms. Ray has a personal connection to the mission, as she is originally from Haiti, and is anxious to return to offer her skills to help improve the medical health of the community.

The dual purpose team will be setting out to assist Haiti Village Health (HVH) meet their mission aim of providing “sustainable care for the Bas Limbe region in Haiti by employing local medical and support staff and providing them with the training, tools and support to allow them to be self-sufficient by 2015.”

“We will be helping out at the clinic in Bas Limbe for 10 days, serving people in a five mile radius,” said Ms. Rochon-Shaw.

The Rotary Club is sponsoring the fundraising dinner and will be run by the medical/construction group going to Haiti, said Mr. Brunetti.

“We’re sponsoring the dinner and they are providing the program for the evening and a video of what, why and how the work they are going to be doing in Haiti will benefit the children and community,” said Ms. Sloss.

“Their focus is going to be on helping younger kids who are having dietary problems because of a lack of food and nourishment,” said Mr. Brunetti.

Ms. Sloss pointed out that $7,000 will feed 100 children for a six to eight week period on the supplementary food program.

“Dr. Keenan used to work at the Little Current hospital, but now lives and works in Haiti. She has a clinic there,” said Ms. Sloss.

“The whole purpose of our holding this dinner is to raise more funds,” said Mr. Brunetti. “The Rotary Club wants to support this as one of our international projects. We are sponsoring the evening.”

“Everything raised by the dinner will go towards the kids nutrition supplement project,” said Ms. Sloss. She pointed out there will not be a set price set for those who attend the dinner. “We want as many people to come out and enjoy a Haitian meal, learn about the program and become more involved, and if after the dinner they want to make a donation, of any amount, they can do so,” said Ms. Sloss.

Ms. Ray told the Recorder, “we’re going to get our team together to help cook the food and serve it at the dinner. We leave January 24 out of Toronto.”

Ms. Sloss noted the menu for this dinner will differ slightly than the one provided at the dinner in Mindemoya.

“It will be even better,” vowed Mr. Brunetti. “The Mindemoya event was great and we want everyone to attend our dinner and bring your cheque book. We are really looking forward to hosting this event. We want Haitian people who live on the Island, and fellow Islanders, to know we are there to help.”

For anyone wishing to make reservations for the dinner, they can do so by calling Ms. Sloss at 282-3404.

Tom Sasvari