by Nate Hromalik
Except for the light tapping of raindrops on the windows, the dark living room at Lynne Moquete’s house was silent. Twenty students who had accompanied her to the Dominican Republic and Haiti sat, unmoving. A friend from the town they stayed in called Moquete after she helped earthquake victims in Haiti.
“So what do we do now?” Moquete asked her students.
“We spread awareness and make this fundraising the best it can be,” answered senior Alexis Halstenson.
The students gathered at Moquete’s house Jan. 17 to discuss ways to raise awareness and money for Haiti. One day before, the students hosted a bake sale on their own.
“We threw it together in 36 hours,” said Halstenson. “We couldn’t have done it without social networking.”
Halstenson, senior Kaitlin Murphy, and other D.R. travelers spent their Saturday morning handing out baked goods and flyers about the poverty in Haiti from tables outside Starbuck’s Coffee and Copperfield’s Bookstore.
“The bake sale went really well,” said Murphy. “I wasn’t expecting people to donate as much as they did.”
Other students walked around handing out the flyers.
“Some people just rolled down their windows and handed us money, saying, ‘Here’s $20,” said Murphy.
The event was a success, earning a total of $1,061.61.
“I was really happy that people from our community were so generous,” said Murphy. “It’s kind of an eye-opener about how giving our community is.”
The money will be donated to Partners In Health, a non-profit organization which has brought medical help to Haiti for over 20 years. The students will continue the bake sales every Friday night downtown.
“We want to reinforce the idea that after a few weeks, Haiti still needs help more than ever,” said Halstenson.
When the students visit the D.R. this summer, they will plant fruit trees in one of the towns they visit in Haiti, where deforestation has been a large problem.
“You go there and you see the poverty, you touch it,” said senior Sharlene Castle. “It becomes more than just an image on a TV screen.”
Now that the nation has its attention focused on Haiti, the students are garnering support for the country they care about.
“This isn’t about one bake sale,” said Moquete. “We cared about Haiti before the earthquake. Sadly, it took this catastrophe to give the students the stage to speak.”