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Haiti disaster relief continues in the County

The catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti more than one year ago – on Jan. 12, 2010 – but disaster relief efforts continue in Prince Edward County.
By Jan. 24, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The Haitian government estimated 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
For the past year, members of the Prince Edward County Women’s Institute Wellington Branch have been working on projects for Haiti – including the creation of mats crocheted from 2,100 plastic milk bags.
Insects that normally nest in natural palm leaves do not like plastic. The mats are also used as a sanitary resting mat for Haitians on long trips to seek medical attention.
Wellington W.I. member Gail Ellsworth says it takes approximately 300 bags to make one mat.
“We have shipped seven mats to Haiti along with other goods, including a large number of little girls’ cotton dresses destined for an orphanage in Haiti. To avoid the backlog of goods which is sitting in warehouses in Florida awaiting shipment to Haiti, we delivered everything to Desert Stream Church in Belleville. They arrange distribution to several destinations – some to northern Indian Reserves (toques etc.) A private pilot affiliated with that church flies supplies into Haiti about six times a year as funds permit.”
W.I. members are currently crocheting and knitting 12″ cotton washcloths for use in delivering babies or to be used in surgeries in Haiti as well as more toques and 12″ wool/synthetic squares to be used in making blankets for the northern posts.

TVOntario shared a link on its Facebook page to the slideshow and song ‘The Sound of Haiti’ by the County’s Jeanette Arsenault, to coincide with their three-part documentary Inside Disaster in Haiti, which aired last month.

Arsenault notes a teacher at Trenton High School will also feature the song and slideshow at its “To Haiti With Love” celebration to be held March 31 at the school.
“To date, her students have made 48 sleeping mats out of milk bags which has saved 200,000 milk bags from our landfills,” Arsenault said. “They plan on reaching the 50 mark by the end of March.”

Arsenault, with her trio Trinity (Kim Inch and Renie Thompson), will be singing at a fundraiser for The 500 Club Saturday, Feb. 19 – at 7p.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Picton. The 500 Club, has now almost reached 400 members who donate $1 per week to help feed and shelter 35 children at La Judee Orphanage, for one year.
Picton residents Robert Wilson and Michael Smith became aware of the plight of the La Judee Orphanage through local resident John Porritt, who is President of Lissom Earth Sciences in Picton. John has visited Haiti on a number of occasions to work on child-related building projects. In fact, he was in Haiti just one week before the earthquake, and might otherwise have been there on the fateful day but for a change of plans which brought him home early.
In response to the needs of the children at La Judee Orphanage, Wilson and Smith organized a fundraising concert through the Prince Edward Lecture Series, and a number of local businesses helped to sponsor the event. The concert at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Picton featured Trinity and a community choir under the direction of local musician Michael Goodwin. An added feature was the presence of the founder of La Judee Orphange, Pastor Ismorin Noel, who was in Ottawa visiting with his wife and family. About $4000 was raised for the orphanage. The money is helping the orphanage to re-equip the kitchen, and buy much-needed medicines, food and school supplies.
Donations to the orphanage qualify for a tax receipt through a registered Canadian charity. Every dollar given goes directly to the support and care of the children. There are no overhead or administrative costs. Everyone involved is donating their time and services.
If you can spare a dollar a week to change the life of a child, and you want to join the “500 Club”, you can email or call 613-476-7177. Visit

The Business and Professional Women International has invited Arsenault to sing her “Women of the World” song in English, French, Italian and Spanish during their World Congress meetings to be held in Helsinki, Finland this June. They have also asked her to sing “The Sound of Haiti” which was used in their Haiti tribute and fundraiser during the BPW District Conventional last fall in Las Vegas.

Filed Under: Local News


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