January 14th we had our Local Faith Communities monthly gathering (www.LocalFaithCommunities.com).  Each congregation had immediately taken action in their own way and continue to send prayers to all those affected by the earthquake.

Many of our institutions began very successful fund raising drives with their flock.  There was discussion of where best to send the monies and supplies, and decided it best to send to whichever each individual organization chose, rather than one.  We know it’s a long term effort.

The Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on E. 2nd St. is organizing a premiere of an original choral work for Haiti on March 20th, 7:30PM, after 5:30 Vespers, as another fund raiser.    

Middle Collegiate Church on E. 7th is having a Fat Tuesday Potluck and Talent Show Benefit February 16th, 6PM, link: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5456/c/456/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=18329

St. Mark’s in the Bowery on 2nd Ave. is having a large benefit including many local performing artists March 14th. See their website for more information.

On a personal note, in the summer of 1970 with my parents, I volunteered at a hospital in Haiti, the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, with it’s inspiring great humanitarian founder, Dr. Melon.  

fyi:  www.hashaiti.org

There is very little waste at this hospital, no high salaries, wonderful network of volunteers and locals, the infrastructure is intact.   All monies go to Haitians in need.

The experience at Albert Schweitzer opened my eyes to the cruelty of torture, palpable political oppression, total fear, and death by starvation, especially young children which was witnessed daily.  Haiti was is dire need then, and perhaps more so today. 

Yet it also showed me a genuine living example of service, compassion, and joy in each other.  It changed my life.  There is perhaps more hope than ever to turn things around for the better.   It’s our prayer.

Natural disasters remind us strongly and directly again of our deep common bonds.  For a moment they relieve us of ageism, classism, racism, nationalism, or differing faiths.   They also show us how we humanity can be when we decide to, working hand in hand together for good. 

We’ll keep posted.