Disaster in Haiti: How To Help Closer To Home

by Julia K. Wakefield, Senior Account Executive
As residents of Miami, a region with one of the highest populations of Haitians in the United States, our community is reeling from the news of the historic devastation in Haiti due to a 7.0 earthquake a few days ago. Massive relief efforts are being undertaken on a local, not to mention regional, national, and international levels, but what is being done for the survivors here in the States? What is being done for Haitian immigrants whose loved ones may be injured, may be dead, may be missing?

One of South Florida’s largest employers of Haitians is stepping up to help its employees deal with the tragedy. Miami Jewish Health Systems (MJHS), one of the region’s largest healthcare providers which is located in Little Haiti and employs hundreds of Haitians, is providing its staff with the resources they need to cope with the disaster’s aftermath closer to home.

These programs include:

  • Employee counseling. Recognizing the emotional and mental toll that a disaster of this magnitude can have, MJHS mental health professionals are offering free counseling to affected employees.
  • Earthquake relief fund. MJHS has created a Haitian earthquake emergency relief fund for collecting donations from staff members and the general public. (Please see below for instructions)
  • Collecting non-perishable goods. MJHS has setup an on-campus depository for non-perishable food, household items and emergency supplies. Public donations are welcome (Please see below for instructions).
  • Providing a link to Haiti.  MJHS will offer employees resources for reaching loved ones in Haiti via the phone and the Internet once normal communications with the island nation are re-established.

In addition, applying the latest advances in modes of communication, MJHS will set up videoconferencing facilities to link to similar facilities on the ground in Haiti so that MJHS staff can see, hear, and speak to their loved ones.
In addition to the activities outlined above, Miami Jewish Health Systems is coordinating its community response and relief efforts with other local organizations, including the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Archdiocese of Miami, and leaders in Miami’s Haitian community.
To donate nonperishable goods, visit MJHS at 5200 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL, 33137. To donate funds to the relief effort (to be delivered through the American Red Cross) call Yvonne Hurlbutt at 305-751-8626.