Thank you for this opportunity to share my story!
I’ve been involved with One Hundred For Haiti since December 2010, when Greg Bennick put out a request for an intern. This was leading up to a global initiative called 100 Shows for Haiti, an event happening over the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shattered Haiti’s infrastructure and killed hundreds of thousands of lives. The goal was to arrange one hundred concerts and promotions all around the world. The proceeds went to direct action humanitarian aid, specifically to a doctor from Port au Prince, Dr. Jacques Denis, who had been giving away all medicine and medical care for free to the people his clinic serves. That was just the beginning. Before the cholera epidemic and the foreign NGO’s that helped debilitate the shaken economy.
I had the opportunity to draft press releases and blitz the local media. I helped however I could with organizing, promoting and helping facilitate communication among so many various volunteers all passionate about the mission to help Haiti.
I saw the energy and passion of all these young volunteers and it sparked me to reinvest my time, dig deep and get more involved!
Over the years I’ve helped with a number of our various initiatives. I drafted up our bylaws and articles of incorporation and applied to the state and the feds for our 501c3 status – that was a huge win! On a couple different occasions I contacted local hospitals and surgery centers to organize donations of medical supplies for our Executive Director’s trips to Haiti. I helped organize donations of clothing and holiday presents for the Kai Angel orphanage and had my entire family make donations (including Bollywood DVD’s dubbed in French, very popular with their kids). I helped put together a benefit at Salty’s on Alki with their head piano man. I also helped put together a benefit from Gorilla FC (Seattle Sounders support group). This is just to name a few and doesn’t take into account the *countless* hours of brainstorming about the future, ways to make a difference, spread the word and fundraise!
For a few years I had my work (Uncle Harry’s Natural Products) donate 20% of the proceeds for a few holiday gift items. Uncle Harry’s is a very earth friendly company that creates products that help with natural health so it was perfectly in line with both our missions to give back to a local non-profit focused on saving lives.
Over the years I’ve seen a few elections in Haiti, that end up being quite corrupt and I’ve seen NGO’s try to help in the wrong way, and then cut and run leaving the economy worse than before. One of the most important aspects of One Hundred for Haiti is the mission to help create sustainable growth. We help in ways that can lead to lasting support. Not just giving people money. That is akin to a Band-Aid on an open wound. Being involved has definitely changed my outlook on how a handful of individuals can help change the world.
When the Hardcore Help Foundation (HHF) started in 2011, Trial was honored to play one of its first shows, in the almost unpronounceable city of Monchengladbach Germany. It has since grown exponentially with support coming in from all over the world. This last year the HHF and One Hundred For Haiti teamed up on a shirt with the theme “EVERY HUMAN HAS RIGHTS” which will be available soon on our new online store. Rico took some time to answer a few questions for us recently and we are excited to share them with you now!
What was your motivation to start The Hardcore Help Foundation?
Back in 2011 I was a promoter, organizing small hardcore shows and festivals. In March of that year a horrible tsunami happened in Japan. One of my friends was hit by the tsunami. His school and the area he lived in was affected hard. After I heard what happened my friends and I started a donation run for him and his students. We started to ask the people at shows to donate their shirts and other merchandising and then we sold them directly and raised money. This idea worked out well and people started sending me merchandise from all over the world. After a few weeks it got me really thinking like why not make a charity out of it. Then we came up with a name and a logo and printed our first t-shirt. The feedback was kinda crazy. From there everything went pretty fast.
What is the primary focus of HHF?
In the beginning I really didn’t have any idea where this was going. It was not planned out. I didn’t have any experience doing charity work or fundraising. Everything went with the idea of “learn by doing”. Over the years we have had some ups and downs too. It’s always important to be creative. My main focus is to get better and grow so that the projects we have can be sustainable and run on their own.
When you think about the saying “a little goes a long way” what thoughts and feelings come up?
With a little kindness you can make a big difference. Best example is our wheelchair project. In Germany we collect them from hospitals or old-folks homes. Stuff which normally would be thrown away. I live in a country where it’s cheaper to throw things away then actually consider the option to re-use it. Most of the medical supplies we get are in really good shape. It’s actually pretty sad to see how much money is wasted. We collect something which has here no value and we ship it to Africa and give it to a family who really can’t afford it. Mostly the teenagers finally can get to school because of the wheelchair. This makes a big difference for the whole family. The gratitude of them is incredible.
What advice could you give to someone who wants to support a humanitarian efforts in their community and beyond?
Good question. Well if someone wants to support a local charity maybe see if you can give something back. I mean make some extra time free after work and get active instead of donating just money. Trust me after you start doing this your life will change.
What or who inspires you stay active and involved?
Many things keep me motivated. Most of the time it’s the little things which happening everyday. For example when am in Kenya helping on the ground it can be a hug from someone who really appreciates your help. Or nice conversation at a festival. Or just someone who has an amazing idea to do fundraising. All the people who are active in the hardcore scene who are trying to make a change inspire me like Greg and you guys. Am very proud to be part of a community which still cares.
Talk about how you built the network of bands who support HHF.
Think its a combination of everything which built the network. Being involved in the hardcore scene for more then over 20 years. Made a lot of friends through the years. Being a promoter for over 10 years helped a lot too.
Thank you Rico! Check out the Hardcore Help Foundation at: HERE.
When we asked labels for donations for the March 4th 2016 benefit show, Revelation Records stepped up right away with shirts and music for our raffle that night. Vique Martin of Revelation answered a few questions for us this week in support of their donations. Be sure to head over to their website and check out the billion things they distribute.
1. Thank you for your donation! Why is it important for Revelation to support causes like One Hundred For Haiti?
Revelation likes to support all things amazing. One Hundred For Haiti is an incredible cause, and we trust Greg Bennick and all the people he works with, to make sure every single cent raised at fundraisers like this goes towards changing the lives for people in Haiti for the better.
2. What events or releases do you have coming up that you’d like people to know about?
We are currently working on helping raise money for the Jon Bunch memorial fund, and promoting the benefit show happening March 20th here in Orange County.
Of course we are so sad to lose Jon from our Revelation family, but it’s amazing to see our community come together to make something like this happen. It’s going to be an incredible celebration of Jon’s music.
Other releases in the works include the reissue of the Beyond “No longer at ease” LP, and some cool reissues that people here are really excited about. But I’m mostly excited about the Beyond!
3. What is YOUR favorite Revelation release?
That’s a hard question! I would have had many different answers for you over the years. But I would have to say that the release closest to my heart is the Kill Holiday “Somewhere Between The Wrong is Right” LP. I toured Europe with this guys for a month in ’97. I put out a 7″ for them on my label, simba. And it was the first record I was involved with releasing on Rev when I started working here in 1998. It just holds a special place in my heart. I’m excited the vinyl will be available again in stores on April 16th 2016 for the first time in years! It’s an incredible record. (Sense Field photo credit: Chris Higdon)
Seattle hardcore band Safe and Sound is a band with heart. They had a record release benefit show on the 4th of March which raised $800 for One Hundred For Haiti. Jim Williams had a chance to ask them a few questions recently about their thoughts leading up to the show.
Introduce yourself and give us a little history of the band.
I’m Jaxon, I sing. Safe and Sound started January 2nd 2012 between a group of new friends as a 4 piece youth crew band. We went through a few member changes and additions, toured Canada, and the west coast a few times, released a demo, a promo tape, an EP, and a 7″ and now we are here with a completely different lineup, sound, and record that just came out!
What made you decide to use your release show as a benefit?
We all have talked a lot about wanting to use our platform we have from being in a band to actually do things that matter. We want to spread awareness and educate people so we thought teaming up with Greg and 100 For Haiti to make our release show a complete benefit for them is a giant step forward in what we want to do and what we want to see others doing in hardcore.
When you hear the phrase “a little goes a long way” what thoughts or ideas come to mind?
The ability to take what you have for more than it’s worth. To see potential in things that other people wouldn’t. To sustain, to influence, to impact.
Talk about the idea of community as it relates to your involvement in the hardcore scene.
Community is something hardcore desperately needs because it brings everyone together to see a common goal or to work together to strive for positive impacts in an outside of the scene. It’s putting on a benefit show for someone in need, it’s writing zines, it’s reaching out to the local schools or community centers to get kids involved in music, community is a bond and a closeness that brings ideas to become realities and allows people to talk and share ideas about anything. To me a functioning hardcore community is an active one. Booking shows, starting a bands, anything to keep your local scene thriving.
How important are humanitarian efforts to Safe & Sound as a band? How important do you feel those efforts are to hardcore and punk in general?
I think it’s very important to consider the implications of every action we take. Kindness and sympathy can go a very long way in every aspect of life. To extend a hand is to take a big step and I feel like in hardcore there are those more than willing to extend but there are many more willing to take or to stand by. In the end it’s all up to a moral choice to want to help or hurt. You can build something or you can break something. Efforts to bring people together in a community are strong in punk and hardcore but is the intent of it all always to benefit other people? Not entirely in my mind. But to those willing to build more than they break, they are the ones really taking steps in this world.
What’s coming up next for Safe and Sound? Future tours, releases, plans?
After our record release we will be embarking on an almost month long tour through the U.S. After that we will be playing the final Bane Seattle show in April, Rainfest in May, a few summer tours, and a Midwest/South tour planned in September. Our goal is Europe and Japan so hopefully early next year or sooner we will be in one of those places. Also expect an LP next year!
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: email@example.com or see PURSES FOR HAITI