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Students to fast in solidarity with Haiti

Anna Boarini | Monday, April 2, 2012

With relief efforts continuing two years after a major earthquake hit Haiti, students can fast from food, Facebook or other luxuries for 24 hours in a show of solidarity with the island nation.

The Fast For Haiti, sponsored by Friends of the Orphans (FOTO), started after a 2010 earthquake rocked the Caribbean country, FOTO president Erin Wright said.

“It’s a 24-hour fast in solidarity with the Haitian people,” she said. “We started the spring after the earthquake and we’ve done it the past three years because there is still a lot of relief needed.”

The fast is not just centered on food. The event begins with an opening prayer service tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the Geddes Hall Chapel and concludes with a Mass on April 4 at 5 p.m. Following Mass, there will be a dinner in the Coleman-Morse lounge for students to break their fast, Wright said.

“People don’t have to fast from food,” Wright said. “They can fast from their phone, fast from snacks, basically whatever they feel like they can do.”

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness for Haiti’s restoration and money to help the country rebuild, Wright said.

Wright said one of the biggest problems Haiti currently faces is controlling the outbreak of disease isn the post-earthquake environment.

“Cholera is a problem,” she said. “Rebuilding is a problem.”

To assist in development in Haiti, fundraising for the event benefits an orphanage and medical mission, Wright said.

“All the money raised will go to Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos Haiti, which is affiliated with St. Luke’s medical mission,” she said.

The money sent to Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH) Haiti will go towards the orphanage and its programs, and funds sent to St. Luke’s medical mission will

assist cholera relief, as well as basic medical needs, Wright said.

“The first year after the earthquake, the money [sent to the medical mission] was mostly used to help with injuries from that, but now it’s mostly used for cholera relief,” she said.

Wright said FOTO is very active in other countries, like Honduras, the club supports nine different orphanages, including the one in Haiti. She said the others helped NPH Haiti following the earthquake.

“After the earthquake, each NPH home rallied and all pulled together and were able to create a lot of support for NPH Haiti,” she said.

During the 24 hours of the fast, participants will receive reflections and information about the situation in Haiti via e-mail.

“[The reflections] are all a little different,” she said. “Some are from people who have been to Haiti. One we’ve used is [from] the director of St. Luke medical mission … We also use different prayers, ideas and thoughts about the event.”

To participate in the Fast for Haiti, sign up online at foto.nd.edu.