Humanitarian Aid Society Passes the Hat for Haiti

News  /  by Eden Fesseha '19  /  December 15, 2016

In October, the Humanitarian Aid Society and Student Council Community Service Representative Panos Vandris ’17 announced an initiative to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the Caribbean. They challenged Lawrentians to each donate $1 dollar in an effort to raise at least $1000 dollars as a school community. At school meeting this past week, Vandris announced that altogether $1133 dollars were raised for “Pass the Hat for Haiti.” This donation was doubled by Partners in Health, a non-profit healthcare organization.

When asked about the idea behind the initiative, Mrs. Cara Hyson, faculty advisor for the Humanitarian Aid Society, explained that “[Mrs. Cantlay and I] were talking about the disaster that hit Haiti and she said ’don’t you think we should do something about this.’” They agreed that they wanted the entire community to respond in some kind of fundraiser. In their conversation, they came to the conclusion that, “If everyone gave a little that would be a lot of money… if everyone gave a dollar, we could make a thousand dollars really easily.” Later, Hyson would speak with the student leaders of the club, John O’Conner ’17, Arjun Balaraman ’17, and Elias Salander ’18.

O’Connor, Balaraman, and Salander drafted letters for the head of each department and with Vandris, gained the help of the houses. Vandris explained that “The presidents and house community service representatives… were responsible for [getting money] from their house” a Wednesday night in October. Specifically, he added that he was approached by the co-presidents “asked me if I could get the community service council to help out because we have a member from each house that could engage the people in that house.”

The co-presidents were scheduled to speak at a faculty meeting but prior to it Hyson thought to email their letter to the faculty and staff. “If this is the first time the faculty are hearing about it they aren’t going to have any money,” she said. People gave one dollar, five dollar, and twenty dollar bills so that combined with money given by students there was a total of $1133 dollars raised.

As for the specific uses of the money, Vandris explained that “Haiti was just recovering from the 2010 earthquake; it’s been a few years, but the impact is still being felt. Now this other disaster hit and their are a lot of vulnerable populations.” The money will be used to aid the displaced and homeless who need shelter and medical attention.