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)