BENEFITING: WAYS OUT OF POVERTY FOUNDATION INCORPORATED
Dear Friends, I am reaching out to share my personal interest and commitment to the people of Haiti. My hope is that some of you may find it in your hearts to give in some small way to the Ways Out of Poverty Foundation (WOOP), as its members continue to help the Haitian people in the wake of their most recent natural disaster, Hurricane Matthew. It seems almost unreal to me that such devastation can come so soon after the earthquake and a very recent drought, leaving so much destruction in its path. As most of you know, last week Hurricane Matthew slammed Haiti, as well as other countries, with the fiercest storm in the Caribbean in almost ten years. Winds were recorded as strong as 145 MPH causing roofs to rip off homes, trees to tear down and uproot, and signs and other structures to blow away. Violent sea surges flooded cities along the coast and the torrential rains hit inland. Flooding washed away complete homes, crops and livestock. The number of human lives lost is uncertain but is estimated to be over 1000. And now for those who have survived, the loss is unimaginable. In addition, there is a grave concern for the spread of waterborne diseases such as Cholera which is already present in the country. The Ways out of Poverty Foundation based in Massachusetts, is urgently putting together a team of doctors and nurses from the US and in Haiti who will join forces to do what they can for those in the most devastated areas of Haiti. The goal is to provide safe water to drink, food and medical treatment. The first medical relief team is scheduled to leave for Haiti by the end of October. My connection to the Haitian people began almost six years ago with a chance meeting in a hospital hallway. I was at Boston Children’s Hospital with my youngest son, Nick. One of his tests was taking longer than expected and I was asked to go to another department to let them know he would be late for his next test there. I was a bit flustered and not quite sure where I was going. We had been travelling the halls of three adjoining hospitals for three months! So I often got confused as to which elevator to take to which building, to which wing and to which floor. I said hello to an emplo who was sitting near one of the elevators. When you are spending most of your time outside of the house, at the hospital, you venture into a new world, a new life, and your extended family becomes the staff and friends who are also spending their days there as well. This is how I met Dr. Gerald Paul, a native of Haiti. He sensed I did not know where I was going and took the time to help me navigate to the right department, taking me there himself. From that day forward we became fast friends and he continually checked in on my son. I thank God Nicholas is cancer free today. Over the years, I continue to be amazed at the amount of compassion and drive Dr. Paul shows. I have come to learn that, second only to my father Gerald Fitzgerald, Dr. Gerald Paul is the greatest humanitarian I know. Coincidence that they share the same first name? I don’t believe so. Aside from his family and community commitments, Dr. Paul is the cofounder and Director of Save a Life Foundation, a member of the medical relief team of the Brazilian Baptist Convention which travels to Haiti two times a year to hold mobile clinics in different poor areas, and now the Founder and President of Ways out of Poverty Foundation. The WOOP Foundation has members here in the US and in Haiti. Its main focus is on helping to bring the poor from poverty to a better life by providing them with good education, nutrition and health. The WOOP Foundation has partnered with Food For the Poor in Florida to build a community clinic one of the poorest cities in Haiti, Onaville. As you may sense, Dr. Paul works tirelessly, always telling me “I need to do more”. Well once again he is ….. As he is building his team to travel to Haiti within the next ten days, I would love to be able to provide him with any contribution we can to assist in the foundation’s efforts as they move forward.