Christmas is a time for giving. Naomie Cesar knows not everyone is lucky enough to receive.
The Welland woman says the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October is still being felt throughout her home country of Haiti.
“They are still having flooding … it’s been raining constantly,” she says.
“I saw kids that are dying of cholera … So I feel like I need to reach out to them,” Cesar says.
Since the hurricane hit in early October, Cesar has visited the country to distribute medicine. During her trip she felt more needed to be done, so when she arrived back in Welland she began to collect items to help.
Two of Cesar’s children attend Nouvel Horizon in Welland, so she reached out to the school for assistance. Cesar said she gained support from Lynn Hadley, co-president of the school board. With the help of students and staff, Cesar was able to fill five large boxes with school supplies, clothing and toys.
“We thought it was a good gesture to do for Haiti. Because it was school-related we more so concentrated on school materials and hygiene,” Hadley says.
Hadley visited each classroom of the French elementary school to teach students the history of Haiti and why the country needs help. She says it was important to get the school involved because not only is there a Haitian population at the school, but also because the school gives back to organizations and causes each year.
“When we see that there is a need, as much as the parent council is there to help the kids, we also think it is important to reach out to the community,” Hadley says.
For Hadley, having children of any age aware of social issues is important to show them how lucky they are in Canada. She says the collection acts as a good educational tool as well, because not everyone is exposed to what happens in other parts of the world.
Cesar says she is “so grateful” for the help she received from the school and other community members. The school gave so much that Cesar must wait to ship some of the boxes in January.
She will be visiting Haiti for eight days, leaving Dec. 21. She will distribute the supplies and toys to a handful of cities that have been impacted by the hurricane.
SOURCE: Welland Tribune – Michelle Allenberg