News

January 15, 2010

Lafayette Responds to the Disaster in Haiti

President Daniel H. Weiss issued the following statement today:

Members of the Lafayette community join with others across the nation and the world in mourning the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and extending deepest sympathy to those who are suffering in the wake of the disaster.

While this touches all of us, insofar as we can determine, no members of the campus community were in Haiti when the earthquake struck. But some in our community are deeply affected because they have family and friends in Haiti, and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their loved ones. The Counseling Center (x5005) stands ready to assist any member of our community who would like support during this time.

The College is mobilizing to lend assistance. While the best way for individuals to help at this time is through cash donations, a small group of faculty, staff, and students have initiated a more sustainable response in partnership with Hands Together, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating, inspiring, and encouraging people to understand the importance of responding to the needs of the poor, especially in Haiti. Dr. Bonnie Winfield, director of the Landis Community Outreach Center, is coordinating the initiative. If you are interested in participating, please contact her at winfielb@lafayette.edu.

The people, spirit, and history of Hands Together are rooted in our own Lafayette community. In 1986, the College’s Catholic chaplain, Father Tom Hagan, OSFS, took a group of Lafayette students to Haiti to help the people there. This same group was instrumental in the development of the Landis Center’s present Kids in Community programs as well as Safe Harbor, the only residence for our homeless neighbors in Easton. Twenty-four years later, Father Tom resides in Haiti full-time and, in collaboration with one of those original students, Doug Campbell ’86, who is now the executive director of Hands Together, addresses the diverse needs of thousands of Haitians. You can read about them at http://www.handstogether.org/aboutus/background/ and can contribute directly to Hands Together for disaster relief in Haiti at http://www.handstogether.org/.

You also may automatically donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting “Haiti” to 90999. InterAction, a coalition of humanitarian organizations, lists other agencies that are accepting cash donations at http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti.

For information and updates on the College’s partnership with Hands Together, please see a web site established for that purpose at http://sites.lafayette.edu/haitiresponse. Updates will follow as our response to the disaster in Haiti evolves. Thank you.

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