Haiti Connection talks of mission trips affect after Hurricane Matthew

Marisa Foglia, Pop Culture Reporter


In response to Hurricane Matthew recently devastating Haiti, the group Haiti Connection, with the Newman Catholic Center, is on a mission to help provide families with security.

Hurricane Matthew has caused catastrophic devastation in Haiti, with the death toll in the country rising to more than 1,000. According to CNN, the hurricane is also to blame for a recent cholera outbreak and famine seen around the country.

The group’s main concern now is to see if the children whose education they sponsor are alive and well after the aftermath of the hurricane. Megan Shudrowitz, a junior public relations major, said it has been hard to get in contact with people in Haiti as the phone service there is not as good as it is in the U.S., and everything there has been destroyed.

A lot of animals have died as a result of the hurricane as well, including chickens, pigs and goats. Shudrowitz said because of this, the Haiti Connection decided to come up with the program, “When Pigs Fly.” The program has been set up on a GoFundMe page and will raise funds to cover the cost of replacing the animals.

Shudrowitz said the group has already seen famine and disease in the country from past mission trips.

“Being able to see that up close, it made you unable to comprehend the situation,” Shudrowitz said. “You want to help them, but the resources aren’t enough.”

The Haiti Connection does multiple fundraisers and two trips throughout the year to provide food and housing to the Haitian people. In Haiti, many people the group helps live in houses made of sticks, stones and cement, making them easily damageable. Shudrowitz said the fundraisers help the Haiti Connection to sponsor families. The funds allow the group to provide housing and enough food to feed three families for eighteen months. Haiti Connection also helps families get a new start by helping them set up their own businesses.

Raising funds also allows the Haiti Connection to make two trips per year —one during Haiti’s wet, or rainy, season and the other during its dry season. Shudrowitz said the two different trips allow them to do different tasks, but during each trip, their mission remains the same.

One of the fundraisers the group will put on is Trivia Night at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

By taking these different trips, Shudrowitz said volunteers build relationships with the Haitian people.

“Our campus minister, Roy (Lanham) has done this for over 40 years,” Shudrowitz said. “The people love him, and when they see us, they know what we’re there to do.”

Before going on the mission trips, Shudrowitz said the group members would fundraise, but it was difficult to understand the impact the money was really making for the Haitian people without physically being there to see it.

“It’s so hard to put into words what you see there and what goes on. I’m truly grateful for the experience,” Shudrowitz said.

Marisa Foglia can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]