Generous response to Haiti relief: Catholic Relief Services is putting our donations to work Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Mar. 11, 2010 -- 1:00 AM

We can be proud of ourselves! People in the Diocese of Madison responded with an outpouring of financial support in the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake in Haiti.

As you can see by the chart accompanying this editorial, people in our diocese have donated over $547,000 to Haiti relief. Contributions have been sent to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which was already on the ground in Haiti prior to the earthquake. CRS continues to deliver relief supplies to the Haitian people, but it is also working on long-term recovery plans for the country.

editor's view by Mary C. Uhler

CRS helping Haiti now and in future

“We are working with the Haitian people now and will be for years to come,” said CRS President Ken Hackett. “Our fundraising for Haiti has passed the $90-million mark. We are grateful for such generosity and our donors should know that we will spend all of this money, and much more, helping the people of this devastated country.”

Haiti reliefAs the rainy season approaches in Haiti, the focus of CRS’ relief effort is moving from food — CRS has fed some 600,000 people — to transitional shelter. Many Port-au-Prince residents, their homes either destroyed or unstable, are living beneath sheets and curtains that provide no protection against inclement weather.

CRS has distributed emergency shelter kits including two waterproof tarpaulins, 80 nails, 100 feet of rope, and one rubber inner tube to 12,000 families. The material will be used to construct temporary structures that should give 60,000 people protection from the rain. The inner tube is cut into squares that reinforce tarps at the points where they’re fastened to frames by nails.

Plans call for distributing several thousand more of these kits plus a second wave of emergency shelter materials — woolen blankets, bedsheets, and insecticide-treated mosquito nets — in the coming weeks.

CRS is also involved in providing and building transitional housing, clearing rubble, and providing health care. An ongoing concern is the safety and security  of children. CRS has set up safe spaces for children in camps, is working with many orphanages, and is helping reunite children separated from their families.

Give to annual collection

There’s much work ahead, but it’s good to know that Catholic Relief Services is representing the Catholic Church in Haiti — and in so many other countries of the world.

On the weekend of March 20 and 21, parishes in the Diocese of Madison will hold the annual CRS collection. The theme this year is “Give Hope to Jesus in Disguise.”

Even though we’ve given to Haiti relief, it is important to contribute to this collection which helps CRS provide humanitarian relief and development assistance to the poor and marginalized in over 100 countries.

Continue to be generous

Despite economic struggles in our own country and in the Diocese of Madison area, members of our parishes have been generous in giving where they see a need.

Our donations to Catholic Relief Services have the power to alleviate suffering and restore hope to our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Please continue to be generous. Go to for more information.

I also encourage our readers to make a contribution and/or pledge to the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) which is now going on in the Diocese of Madison. The ACA supports so many ministries serving needs in our own diocese, including helping the poor, educating young people and future priests, and caring for our retired priests.

The Church in our diocese needs your financial support to continue and hopefully even expand its services in the future. If God has blessed you, please share your blessings!