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Hungry for Haiti

John Cameron | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To redraw the Notre Dame community’s attention to Haiti’s continuing struggles in light of the January 7.0-magnitude earthquake, more than 200 students will participate in a campus-wide fast starting tonight.

“The earthquake happened in January … We want students to keep up awareness in general, to not forget it. Haitian people need our help,” Noelle Hilmer, the event’s organizer, said. “It’s easy to give a donation and forget about it. We want the students to fast in solidarity with our Haitain brothers and sisters.”

The fast will start at 6 p.m. tonight with a prayer service in Ryan Hall, and it will end with a Mass in Dillon Hall Wednesday at 6 p.m., Hilmer said.

“Right now, we have about 230 students signed up,” she said.

Fast participant Genie Alfonzo, a junior, said the fast is an excellent way for students to more closely relate to a disaster — one that most of the Notre Dame community is removed from, geographically and otherwise.

“It lets us reflect and think about, for a day, how the earthquake has affected people’s lives,” Alfonzo said. “It’s a great way to reflect on how privileged we are here at Notre Dame, and the money that we raise can really make a difference in the lives of these people.”

Hilmer said some students will be abstaining from other activities.

“I’d say the majority [of students] are abstaining from food but there are a few … abstaining from other things,” she said. “Facebook, Internet, their phone, things like that.”

In addition to individual participants’ collections, an online donation site has been established.

“We’re collecting money Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’ll be collecting through April. We know our shopND link has already gotten about $1,200,” Hilmer said.

Students who wish to sign up can go to www.fast4HaitiND.com, where they can also donate money, she said.

The fast is supported by several campus organizations. The main sponsor, ND-8, is a student club that works against poverty. The Progressive Student Alliance, Human Rights ND and the Center for Social Concerns also are supporting the fast, Hilmer said.