Nurse Teresa Wood volunteered to go to Haiti to tend to the sick and wounded and expects to come back a changed person. “Trips like this change you. I know I’ll have a different outlook on life,” says Wood of the Imlay City Lions Club in Michigan. “People have no health care there. There’s so much disease. Cholera, very bad amputations, and now the rainy season is beginning and typhoid will be a big concern. Rabies is another one.” When her church received a call asking for volunteers for the mid-March trip, she says her only question was, “When?” Despite the dangers, Wood says, “I’m prepared for miracles. I know it can happen.” Her family, including husband Frank, a Lion, is supportive. The club donated money to help the medical team buy and bring supplies with them. All medications have to be in pill form since liquids aren’t allowed on the plane. Wood doesn’t see herself as special. “I’m just one person. People everywhere are doing what they can.” Lions have been active in Haiti. Lions from the Dominican Republic transported two containers of relief supplies to Haitian Lions and Leos. Supplies were distributed to an orphanage, hospital and Lions tent cities in Delmas, Blanchard and Carrefour-Feuille. Each tent city can accommodate 300 families or 1,200 people. LCIF is working with Lions of Haiti as well as Lions in neighboring countries to develop a long-term reconstruction plan. More than US$2 million has been donated to LCIF by people who, like Wood, are doing what they can to give hope to Haiti. In Belgium, Multiple District 112 Lions have collected US$190,000. Multiple District 44 Lions in New Hampshire raised $13,000 and the Crosslake-Ideal Lions Club in Minnesota gave $5,000. Finnish Lions gave US$57,000. In Florida, members of the Aventura North Miami Beach Lions Club are collecting and recycling used ink cartridges and cell phones, for which they earn $2 each. Lions intend to donate all proceeds to LCIF for Haiti relief. District 19-A Lions in Canada collected $126,000 for Haiti, says Vancouver Cathay Lion Henry Ng. Wearing Lions vests, members set up collection sites in high traffic areas such as shopping malls and restaurants. “We have excellent public relations in the community. The public trusts us,” he says of Lions’ efforts. People gave freely, including Lions. Ng donated $1,000. At 72, he says he considers it “a blessing to be able to give. I can afford it and I have the health to donate. This is what is in my heart. This is why I became a Lion.” The immediacy of the Internet gives a face and voice to those who are suffering. It’s also one reason that Lions were able to mobilize so readily. Lions used Twitter, Facebook and the Lions Web site to communicate with one another and headquarters. YouTube clips of LCIF Chairperson Al Brandel and a team of volunteers he led to Haiti quickly received thousands of hits. From Jan. 12 when the quake struck to Feb. 9, the LCIF donation page received 7,196 visits, a huge leap in donations from the average. There are currently nearly 11,000 “fans” on the Lions Facebook site, and many of them were sharing their concerns as well as news of their clubs’ relief efforts. Marina Visser of the Tygerberg Hills, South Africa, Lions Club, told Lions, “We will light a candle for those lives lost.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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