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Friday, January 15, 2010

Chances for Children Earthquake Relief Efforts

We must start by thanking all of you for your unfailing support. Your generosity and passion for our work is heartwarming. In the first 48 hours we directed most donation inquiries to both the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders to assist both of these organizations working on the ground in Haiti to provide life-saving relief and supplies. Many of you gave generously to these organizations and we are deeply grateful.

As you know from watching the coverage of the events in Haiti – the destruction is unfathomable. We have had email correspondence with our partner organization, Foundation Enfant Jesus and they are overwhelmed by the destruction and death they have seen in PAP. Many staff members have lost family and as you know the downtown office is only partially standing. All of the children under C4C/FEJ care are being well taken care of and are safe. However, the aftershocks are so strong that everyone is afraid to sleep indoors –  there is no power, no water, no phone service and getting anywhere is difficult and treacherous.

There are many organizations already on the ground and many others who are working to get volunteers and supplies into Haiti. These efforts are critical and the first step in stopping more deaths and the spread of disease - we encourage our Chances for Children community to continue to support their efforts. Most relief organizations will be focused solely on Port au Prince - the most devastated area. But there is also a huge and growing problem in the outlying villages and this is why we are asking for your help. 

As you may know, in late November, Chances for Children (through donations from all of you) filled a container valued at over $14,000.00 with food, supplies, medicines and other critical items for our team in Haiti. This container was to provide FEJ with food for 6 months. Unfortunately, the container arrived in Haiti sometime before Christmas and with the holidays and the lengthy custom process - the contents did not make it to the orphanage before the earthquake. Due to the instability in Haiti, the complete shutdown of all government processes since the earthquake, and looting that is occurring - we no longer know if our supply of food and medicine is secure. Our partners reached us last night to let us know they have only one week’s worth of food left for the children at the crèche and the village school. This is where we need your help. We are in the process of securing air cargo space (either donated or reduced) so that we can load tubs of food and supplies to send to Haiti. The timing of this is very critical and we will need to be able to mobilize these supplies in a moments notice. For this reason, we are asking for anyone who wishes to assist in our specific efforts to make monetary donations. Chances 4 Children will then purchase the needed supplies when we know when and where the flight will be originating from. For those of you who would prefer to make in-kind donations of food and formula we ask that you collect these donations and they will be sent down at a later date via a shipping container. Both of these links will provide you with the donation information:

http://www.chances4children.org/c4c/donate/contribute/
http://chances4childrendonations.blogspot.com/

We have a long road ahead of us in Haiti. When we began our planning for 2010 we were confident that we would begin the implementation of some additional community service programs, knowing that things were starting to stabilize. All that has changed. There is no stability in Haiti – there is only instability. There is no hope for new programs this year - our only hope is to provide food, shelter and services to the many children who will be abandoned due to this catastrophic event.  Again, please continue to support our neighbors in Haiti and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

We are very grateful for your support. Thank you for allowing us to continue helping the children in Haiti.
Kathi and Craig Juntunen

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