JIS News

The Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation and Madeline’s Restaurant in Toronto, Canada, have raised more than C$12,000 for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
This amount should eventually become C$24,000, as the Canadian Government has announced that it will match funds collected by charitable organisations for Haiti.
In seven days, the Foundation was able to organise a sold-out fundraising dinner at Madeline’s in downtown Toronto, last week, for the people of Haiti, who have been suffering since the 7.0 earthquake devastated the country on January 12.

Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, in Canada George Ramocan (left), with (from second left), Haiti’s Honorary Consul to Toronto, Dr. Eric Pierre; General Manager of Madeline’s Restaurant, Greg Ali; and Chair of the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation, Karl Hale, at the fundraising dinner for Haiti, last week, hosted by the Foundation.

The funds collected will be used by the charitable organisation, Food for the Poor (FFTP) Canada, to help acquire and ship a container of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies valued at close to C$500,000.
Speaking to JIS News, Executive Director of the FFTP in Canada, Ms. Samantha Mahfood, said her organisation was honoured to be chosen as the recipient charity for the funds.
“The supplies will be shipped to Haiti as soon as the container is finalised and will be distributed by Food for the Poor Haiti, to hospitals, medical clinics and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), working in the aftermath of the earthquake,” she informed.

Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, in Canada, George Ramocan (left) and Dr. Lola Ramocan (second left), with Haiti’s Honorary Consul to Toronto, Dr. Eric Pierre and Mrs. Helene Pierre, at the fundraising dinner for Haiti, last week, hosted by Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation.

Ms. Mahfood said FFTP Haiti has been working in that country for 22 years and had built 10,000 homes, provided medical supplies to many hospitals, created 30 fishing village co-operatives and feed 500,000 Haitians on an on-going basis.
Haiti’s Honorary Consul to Toronto, Dr. Eric Pierre, said he was overwhelmed by the level of support shown for the pain and suffering of the people of Haiti by different groups in Toronto.
“People are donating their time; people are donating their talents; they are donating anything they have to try and ease the suffering, the pain and the trauma. I thank them,” he said.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan, noted that the event was just one of several organised by the Jamaican community in Toronto, for Haiti.

Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, in Canada, Mr. George Ramocan (centre), being interviewed by Ms. Tara Webber of City TV (right), at the fundraising dinner for Haiti last week, organised by Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation. Looking on is Dr. Lola Ramocan.

“Our presence here tonight identifies us with the devastation in Haiti, which has displaced more than three million persons and tragically took an estimated 200,000 lives,” said Mr. Ramocan.
“Children have lost their parents, parents have lost their children and whole families have been wiped out. There could not be a more worthy cause for you to support and I thank each one of you for being here,” he added.
The Consul General told the audience that it is important to realise that what happened in Haiti could happen in any other Caribbean country, because of the earthquake fault line, and attention needs to be given to disaster prevention.
“Too little attention is being paid to disaster mitigation and disaster prevention. If much of the resources being spent on disaster relief was spent on prevention, many lives would have been saved and much of the dislocation that has taken place would have been prevented,” he said.
The Consul General said the Haitian disaster should be used as the catalyst to look at disaster prevention.
The award winning owner of Madeline’s, Chef Susur Lee, designed a special three-course menu for the event.
Jamaican/Canadian, Ms. Sandra Whiting, said she attended the fundraiser for Haiti, because it was the right thing to do. “We must all dig deep and give until it hurts,” Ms. Whiting told JIS News.
Another Jamaican, Ms. Mary Long, said: “I am supporting Haiti because we have to help. We are all from the Caribbean and we have to support each other.”
Chair of the Foundation, Mr. Karl Hale, thanked all the supporters and also his committee for their hard work. He said the fundraiser was sold out 48 hours after it was announced.
Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation organises an annual charity ball in Toronto, which raises funds for Jamaica’s education and health sectors. The next charity ball is slated for September 2010.

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