Charity and Emergency Relief

Hands Together embraces the Catholic social principle of a "fundamental option (love) for the poor" and we practice this principle through our emergency intervention and charity to the poor. We believe we were created with a predisposition to care about one another's lives, which intensifies around suffering. The human misery and squalor in Haiti reduces people to an inhuman state of despair and desperation. Whenever we can, we try to save human life and reduce this suffering.

We encounter each day many people facing life threatening situations, medical emergencies, severe hunger, homelessness, and many forms of human suffering. Our method of charity flows from a life of prayer and being open to the "cry of the poor" in a given day -- some days we may encounter this in the pleadings of a woman whose child is dying, some days in a man who lost his daughter and has no money for a funeral, some days we may find one of our students has been shot and we will provide medical treatment. Essentially, our emergency intervention is spontaneous charity that is dictated by our relativity to those around us. We sat aside a fixed amount of funds based on our revenues and we do our best to provide emergency funds for medicine, food, rent, funeral expenses, and other urgent needs. Asking God's help, we strive for compassion and gentleness whenever we cannot help someone.

The hurricanes in 2004 and 2008, and then the January 2010 earthquake created tremendous "Charity - Intervention" needs among our "Hands Together Universe." The families of our many workers and 7,000 school children all face extreme hardship and constant struggles. One of the most significant things we can do is channel donations and support to those who truly need it.

The information in the table below summarizes information from Fr. Tom Hagan's emergency "charity" journal and information from our hurricane relief efforts in Gonaives, Haiti.

Summary of Emergency Intervention & Charity Activities

2010 (Amount: $385,000)

Emergency recovery grants to hundreds of victims of the January earthquake. We continued salaries for a six month period to all employees, even when the schools were closed. We provided major "recovery grants" to over 400 families who lost their homes and belongings.

2009 (Amount: $375,000)

Hurricane relief efforts in Gonaives--(housing, feeding, water delivery, repairs to equipment and homes - $285,000) monthly allocations for people with medical emergencies, housing support, funerals, support to families of people in prison, cash gifts.

2008 (Amount: $85,342)

Housing support to 9 families, support to the families of many people in prison, 147 individual cash gifts to the poor, funds to street boys for one-time work, support to families of 5 children killed in fighting, funeral for Fr. Vollel, medical emergency funds to 18 families, emergency feeding in Gonaives.

2007 (Amount: $85,906)

Housing and rent support to 22 HT staff, seed money to help 12 people start a business, 7 funerals, medical funds for operation to Philogen - school director, misc. monthly gifts to 174 people.

2006 (Amount: $47,336)

Funds to 46 families needing medical help, 165 gifts to individuals, money to 8 families with people in prison, 13 funerals, misc. gifts to Sisters of Charity, food relief in Gonaives.

2001-2005 (Amount: $79,805)

Cash gifts to help mothers pay school fees, medical help to 56 families, 997 individual emergency cash gifts, 71 funerals, housing funds for 256 families, rent assistance to 68 staff, cash to Sisters of Charity for emergency food, cash to Brothers of Charity for hospice and clinic, food money to mothers in Bariwone who eat mud pies, emergency food distribution & house construction after the 2004 Gonaives hurricane, 916 miscellaneous emergency gifts.