A great benefit show is coming up in Tacoma WA on March 4th! Safe and Sound will be releasing their record that night and asked for the entire event to be a benefit for One Hundred For Haiti!
Want to help our work and put actions behind your desire to do something for others? You absolutely can. Here is a list of many of the things we are looking for help with. Download it (its a PDF), and be in touch with us anytime about where YOU can assist us. Our volunteer coordinator Sarah Rolfe can point you in the right direction and get you started. You can email her anytime at: sarah (at) onehundredforhaiti (dot) org.
Be in touch! We need your help for One Hundred For Haiti to grow and expand in 2016 and beyond!
Our friends Kevin Diers and Ian Reas, hosts of METALSHOP on KISW 99.9FM in Seattle had Greg on last night to talk about One Hundred For Haiti and other craziness. You can hear the interview here:
Hear a new interview with Gwen (Purses For Haiti) and Greg on Life Mastery Radio. You can listen to the full interview here:
Gwen Whipple retired last year but decided to stay busy. The Seattle resident has a love both for fabrics and for the work One Hundred For Haiti is doing in Haiti. She recently decided to take her passion and transform it into a fundraising campaign for us. It was all her idea and she has been able to donate thousands of dollars to us. Gwen makes handmade purses like the one shown below and has set a goal to sell one hundred of these for us. We asked her recently about the campaign and where her idea came from.
100FH: How did you get involved with sewing and how did the idea of the purses for Haiti project come together?
GWEN: It started about twenty years ago when I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Sacramento. Betty signed me up for a quilting class. I had no supplies but it was so exciting and fun. Once I started going to quilt shows I found fun patterns for bags and purses. I still get to put the colors together (my specialty) but the projects get to the finish line quicker. I got inspired hearing Greg Bennick speak recently in a keynote presentation at an event. His passion for the people of the country was intoxicating, and drunk on excitement I decided I could do something. I knew I was going to keep making these purses so I thought, wouldn’t it be great for the proceeds to go to a fund where the money is clearly helping people pick themselves up and have a better life? The next thing was to broaden my exposure so, with my new goal of one hundred purses for Haiti, I began networking. I had seen Greg at the perfect time. He had returned from his trip to Haiti and changed the course of the organization from pure relief efforts to development efforts. The timing was perfect as I had created these small purses that were getting attention. I was taking orders and making them for others (made a few for gifts). I was amassing the money but had no outlet. Once Greg finished with his keynote speech the idea began forming. As I drove home I realized that I knew where the money should go. I decided on my trip home that I would make 100 purses and donate all the money to 100FH. I sent a note to Greg once I got home and he was super excited. He has since helped me with the domain name as well as hosting it. I knew the money donated would be well spent.
100FH: How long does it take to make one purse?
GWEN: I often cut the fabric out one day and do the sewing the next day. If I worked on it straight through, it takes about 5-6 hours including the button and beading. I always have 4-5 fabric combinations lined up. I love it when I get requests for theme fabric (“can you make me one with owls?” or “My friend loves elephants, can you make one with elephants?”)
100FH: Why is this cause important to you?
GWEN: I trust that this money is in good hands and helping brighten lives. It started simply with clean water now those same people are asking for help to help themselves through conditions most of us have never had to endure. Life is good for me, how could I refuse this simple request to help? It is a win-win-win. I get to feed the creative side of my brain, someone gets to walk around with a new stylish purse knowing that the money spent is going to a great cause, and One Hundred for Haiti gets a new stream of money to fund programs.
When you think about the saying “a little goes a long way” what thoughts and feelings come up?
GWEN: I believed that my trickle of money every few months over as long as it would take me to accomplish my goal would be a nice addition to those with larger one-time gifts. I feel good each time I get the thank you note and add up my contributions. It inspires me to carry on. At some point I could stop and just donate the equivalent of one hundred purses, but where would the fun be in that? I still get to put the fabrics together and delight folks with a new, practical fashion option. I have learned so much about how to market with business cards tucked into a pocket of each purse to the website with pictures of purses I have made.
What does the future hold for Purses for Haiti?
GWEN: I am working on designing purses number 60 through 62 as I sold all my inventory last week. I am still working through my stash of fabric and resisting the temptation to buy more. Once I hit my goal of 100, I may come up with a new project to help with fundraising. I also make quilts which make good auction items for larger fund raising events. I may reach out to special interest groups – Flamingo Lovers for example, to use up yards of donated flamingo fabric. For my final push to reach my goal, I can reach out to my Toastmaster groups and offer to give a speech about this project. Who knows, I may just find that next volunteer and sell some purses.
What advice could you give to someone who wants to support a humanitarian effort in the way Purses for Haiti has?
GWEN: We all have a skill-set that is being under-utilized. I bet there are opportunities to donate time/skills to the cause. Maybe someone is really good at organizing a fabulous fundraising event with a theme and getting lots of donated items. That takes a fair amount of time and a certain skill. That person is out there somewhere.
Gwen had this to add about the purses:
“They are 8 1/2″ X 13″ tube top purses with plenty of pockets. They have four inside pockets for pens and credit cards, two full-width outside pockets with buttons on front and Velcro on back. The tube top is available for the stuff you really don’t want exposed and folds down to reveal the embellishments. The strap goes across your body and fits nicely on your hip. It has room in the back pocket for a Kindle (a nice bonus). I use mine for my full-time purse. It works great for travel and gambling as it can swing around and sit in your lap while you are on your favorite machine your money is close at hand…your hand no one else’s!”
To contact Gwen with questions, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or see PURSES FOR HAITI
In this video, recorded just before the 6th anniversary of the earthquake, One Hundred For Haiti’s executive director and founder Greg Bennick takes some time to explain the difference between RELIEF and DEVELOPMENT. This video explains the core of what the work is that we do in Haiti and WHY we do it. With our local focus and support people on the ground for The Rural Water Project, and our partners “Little Footprints, Big Steps” and “Kay Tita”, initiatives like the anti-sexual assault GTPE trainings are coming to life in a major way and impacting lives all over Haiti. Four and a half minutes is all you need to devote to hear the whole story!
As the year comes to a close, we reflect on what we’ve accomplished: a trip to Haiti led to us taking on a water project which now is a much-expanded Rural Water Project from our friends at Peacework Medical, who had decided to stop working in Haiti. And this was the year that we funded the GTPE anti-sexual assault trainings in the south of Haiti, with plans to expand those trainings much further in 2016.
So the question is why? Why focus on a country that no one really cares about in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles away? The answer is simple: commitment.
We said in 2010 that we would help in Haiti when we had no resources and no support…and we said as support began to come in that we would stay committed to the people of Haiti, even after it wasn’t cool anymore. Because regardless of the earthquake’s intensity, the writing was on the wall even two months later as people asked right and left back here at home, “Have they pretty much fixed things back up yet?” and all other sorts of similar comments about Haiti which led us to realize that the world psychologically NEEDED the earthquake to be finished and cleared up so that they could sleep at night, and move on to something else. If Haiti was still “broken” people wouldny in good conscience be able to move on.
As soon as new disasters, events, and tragedies took the headlines, people started to forget about Haiti. There is always a disaster of the day to distract the masses. And it is challenging to remember which disaster was last week or last month especially when the media covers the newest and gloomiest exclusively and with wild abandon.
In the midst of that, we decided to not lose our focus. We made the choice to stay right in line with our goal from the start: to provide support for the people of Haiti. That is still true today.
We have expanded our team to include more specialized participants. We have posted a needs list for ANYONE to download and then get in touch with us with how they want to help. We have definitely expanded with our team of volunteers leading the way.
The world is filled with crises, from the refugee situation in Lesvos Greece, to poverty in Africa, to continual natural disasters and the earth responding to the torture we put it through. There are many places to put one’s attention. But in a world of distractions and immediate “like” glorification, it is far more satisfying to not rubberneck away from the task at hand, and instead to build relationships, focus a team, pinpoint one or two goals and then stay the course. The sense of satisfaction comes from working towards a common goal on behalf of appreciative people.
Had we allowed ourselves to be distracted, or to lose our sense of commitment, then Haiti for us would have become yet another in a long list of situations around the world which are paid attention to for as long as a news cycle lasts before something shiny catches the attention elsewhere of a viewing audience always in need of a new distraction. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
We are here still, and we are here to stay. We appreciate your support.
Happy holidays and thank you all for what you do, what you have done, and what you will do to support our vital and much needed work.
This is a commitment that we are going to keep together.
We want to thank our friends at Women for One for featuring us on their homepage for the month of December! Women for One is a global community of women and their supporters devoted to sharing their personal truths and building community in the process.
We have been fortunate to have had their support for some time now and we appreciate them sharing information about One Hundred For Haiti to their hundreds of thousands of friends. Yes you read that correctly: HUNDREDS of thousands! We are so very appreciative of them and their global effort to empower women and have their individual voices be heard.
If you’re here from Women for One, please be sure to check out information on the GTPE trainings which is a consortium of social workers, government officials, local authorities, teachers, and concerned citizens who had planned and had a difficult time implementing an education/training program to go into rural communities and train people about assault and what can be done about it. Before our involvement the project was fully stalled due to lack of funds. Now, in the last few months alone, we have paid for the training and education of almost a thousand people with thousands more on the way. This makes for safer communities, and for protected children.
Thank you for your visit and support!