Miami Notes: City Churches Respond to Haiti, Cuba

CRS writer Kai T. Hill is in Miami reporting on local efforts to help Haiti and Cuba following a series of storms that battered the island nations.

For weeks I sat behind my desk at Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore processing details from storm-torn Haiti and Cuba. During emergencies we rely on updates and photos from the field to provide our Web readers and donors with “on the ground” accounts as quickly as possible.

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Catholic Relief Services workers pick up supplies to be distributed in the port city of Gonaives, Haiti. Aid workers are shipping food and supplies by boat and air, as the roads leading up to the city remain inaccesible. Photo by Greg Elder/CRS

Yet, to my surprise the situation reports not only included details of the destruction and loss inside Haiti, but also the remarkable Church response by parishes and communities throughout the United States. From small towns like Gary, Indiana, to New York, New Jersey and South Florida, parishes are collecting money, residents are filling church halls with clothes, canned goods, food and other items. Volunteers are working around the clock to fill shipping containers headed for the ports.

As the associate web producer for CRS my current assignment is to tell the stories of lay Catholics and Church leaders who are donating money, goods and time for both islands. No better place to start is Miami, Florida—the closest point to Haiti and Cuba geographically and in heart and spirit.

CRS has shared a long relationship with the Archdiocese of Miami, where Archbishop Favalora recently sent a strong message for Catholics to live their faith through outreach for the suffering in Haiti and Cuba.

In the days leading up to my trip I made sure that I had enough notebooks to fill with quotes from people like Sister Hilda, a petite elderly nun, who is directing the Daughters of Charity’s collection efforts for Cuba in west Miami. In addition to helping the Daughters ship emergency items to Cuba, we recently learned that we have helped them obtain a warehouse to store the great volume of donated goods coming in each day.

CRS is grateful to its donors who make these efforts possible by contributing to our Latin America Severe Weather Fund. On the islands themselves we’ve been able to provide food and survival essentials for thousands of families in some of the hardest hit areas.

CRS’s relationship with the Daugthers goes back more than 10 years. For Haiti I plan to visit two key parishes, Notre Dame D’ Haiti located in the heart of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood and Saint James parish in North Miami. It was only four months ago that I arrived at Notre Dame’s white gates to talk about the food crisis. Today, it’s the floods.

– Kai T. Hill

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One Response to “Miami Notes: City Churches Respond to Haiti, Cuba”

  1. Kenneth Says:

    Hello

    I would like some information on the Catholic relife. I am working with a charity in the UK
    and would lie to link with other organisation

    Thanks
    Kenneth

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