Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baptist Haiti Mission: Please Help!

You’ve heard about the massive earthquake that shook Haiti to its core a week ago today. You’ve seen the photos of devastation and heard about thousands of missing people.

What you may not have heard about is Baptist Haiti Mission and its response to the dire situation. But first a disclaimer. BHM is a client of ours, so I am not a dispassionate observer. Instead, I am totally in awe of the magnificent work they do.

BHM was founded 60 years ago to bring medical care, education and housing to the poorest of the poor in Haiti. They built a hospital serving the rural poor; they built schools; they founded a local self help program; and they started a reforestation program.

Over the years, they have helped tens of thousands. Today alone, there are more than 65,000 children in their sponsored schools.

BHM is a lean machine. There are no big salaries or big egos here. No massive public relations or advertising campaigns (which is why you may never have heard of them). No ornate headquarters buildings. More than 90 cents of every dollar contributed goes directly to services. Relief funds are sent directly to the field, maximizing the impact of your gifts.

BHM has withstood political upheavals, successive hurricanes (four in October 2008 alone!), unpredictable funding, and a myriad of other challenges, both man-made and natural.

Then last Tuesday afternoon, it all changed. In an instant, the country’s infrastructure was destroyed.

The BHM hospital in Fermathe, a mountainous rural area, is the ONLY medical facility left standing within miles. It is open for business and thousands of terrified people are pouring in for triage and treatment. They are even walking from the capital city for help as there is no other option!

Unfortunately, one doctor was killed in the quake, along with a driver. Several other members of the support staff are missing and presumed dead.

The surviving staff—including two doctors and a handful of nurses—are committed to working longer, harder hours than ever before as they treat their injured friends and neighbors. They have lost count of how many injured they have helped; they are exhausted; yet they continue on 22 hours a day.

By now, medical supplies have almost been exhausted, though international assistance is supposed to be coming. Medical staff is also exhausted; but again, reinforcements are en route.

In the meantime, the BHM hospital is the only medical facility for tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

BHM badly needs our help. BHM needs medicines, supplies, linens and food. The need is not diminishing, and it’s going to get worse. Soon the community will have only contaminated water to drink and no food to eat. Many will die.

Please help. Please make a generous contribution to help BHM serve the people of rural Haiti.

Mail your check to Baptist Haiti Mission / 118 Courtland / Rockford, MI 49341 or go to http://www.bhm.org/ and make a contribution on-line. Funds will be sent directly to the field so on-site personnel can put them to work immediately.

Any gift—even $10—helps. And yes, it is tax deductible.

Thank you.

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