Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Last Friday morning, I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast with Maggie and Aleita while scanning the headlines of the front page of the day's newspaper. Studying the paper across the table, Maggie said to me, "Why is that woman screaming?"

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

She was looking at a picture of a Haitian woman. The picture was almost painful to see - - her anguish was so apparent. It was no wonder it had captured her attention. I read the caption to her: Cindy Terasme cries after seeing the feet of her dead 14-year-old brother, Jean Gaelle Dersmorne, at the rubble of the collapsed St. Gerard School in the aftermath of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. We had discussed the earthquake earlier in the week at dinner one evening, and she had talked about it at school and at youth choir as well. However, I don't think it truly hit home with her until she saw the pain and despair written all over that young woman's face.

Maggie has heard about the struggles of the Haitian people before. One of the members of our church, Linda Damery, is involved with a not-for-profit organization that organizes medical mission trips to Haiti throughout the year. Linda, an RN, has been to Haiti multiple times as part of the mission team. She has brought back pictures and stories of the people she has served while in Haiti and has shared them with our congregation.

Maggie and I sat at the table that morning and discussed what this devastating earthquake meant for the people of Haiti. We discussed how most of the people in this country live without enough food to eat or clean water to drink. We talked about how most of the children there do not get to go to school. We talked about the lack of electricity and adequate shelter and clothing and the absence of medical care. We discussed how the earthquake had made their already unfathomably difficult lives that much more so.

She sat there quietly for a minute, then said to me, "Can I give them the money in my bank?" The money in her bank is money she has received for her birthday and from doing chores around the house. This stash is what she has been saving to purchase clothes for her American Girl doll during our next excursion to Chicago. I said to her, "It's your money. You can do with it what you want."

She gave a small smile, and satisfied, went back to eating her breakfast. And just like that, my nine-year old showed me despite all the greed and ugliness that exists in this world, there is yet so much good. That evening, we counted the money in her bank and found that she had $59.93. We topped it off to make it an even $60.00. I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her. She said, "I have enough stuff. This will help someone who really needs it."

On Sunday, Maggie brought her Tootsie Roll bank to church and dumped the entire thing in the special offering plate being passed around for donation for the Haitian relief fund. Chris and I matched her donation, and asked that all of them be sent to FOTCOH - - The Friends of the Children of Haiti - - which is the organization with which Linda volunteers.

So I give you the Maggie Tootsie Roll bank is the link to FOTCOH. On the front page is a link where you can directly donate to the organization. Take some time on the website while you are there and learn about this amazing, giving charity.


papadale said...

Challenge accepted, our check will be in the mail in the A.M.,Oh, and give Maggie an extra hug from us.

Anonymous said...

we have donated through several organizations. How very astute and compassionate of Maggie. You are doing something right there my friend. Yes, something right indeed.