On Jan. 12, a 7.0 magnitude struck Haiti. The earthquake’s epicenter was 16 miles west of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, causing massive devastation. Seventy percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed. On Jan. 25, Haitian authorities stated that the death toll has exceeded 150,000 people, and as many as 1 million Haitians are homeless. To put this in perspective, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake caused nearly 70,000 deaths.
Worldwide, countries have sent aid and rescuers. Relief efforts have been complicated, with criticisms aimed at the disorganization in delivering food, water, and other necessities to those who need it most. Additionally, the infrastructure in Haiti has been severely damaged — roads have been destroyed, its port is blocked, and the hospitals are either filled to capacity or are ruined. This is why it is especially important for those of us to do what we can to help.
Earlier this week, the Hop Sing Tong, a Chinese American fraternal club in Seattle, organized a fundraiser for the cause, the first in the International District.
To entice 400 attendees to give, the tong featured a kung fu demonstration and karaoke singing. It was a simple and straightforward event without frills. The tong pulled this off without a whole lot of planning. There were only a couple of informal short meetings to ask friends to support the event. In the end, the event was successful because it was organized with the best of intentions. At the end of the night, the tong raised $23,000, which will go to the Red Cross toward relief efforts in Haiti.
We encourage all of our readers to follow in their example and donate some money, especially since relief efforts in Haiti are still falling short of the need. We all have a tendency to think that we are the ones who are suffering the most in this economic climate and that we don’t have the means to give to others.
However, it’s really true that every little bit helps. Attendees at Hop Sing Tong’s event each gave what they could in a pool. At the end of the night, the group had $23,000.
“The generosity and compassion of the community are amazing. We are deeply grateful to the Hop Sing Tong Association members and their guests. The donations will provide much needed food, water and other critical resources for the people of Haiti. The American Red Cross was honored to participate in such a wonderful and fun event,” said Chief Operating Officer Cynthia Chirot.
Perhaps we can’t give away hundreds of dollars out of our pockets right now, but we can do things like give up our daily cup of coffee at Starbucks or stop eating out at restaurants for a month or longer. Think of how much extra money we’d accumulate. This is money that we can put toward helping others. ♦