Monday, 15 January 2018

Pennies for Port-au-Prince

Photo Credit: Sonia Maendel

One thing about this Manitoba deep freeze we're in right now, we sometimes see gorgeous sun dogs. Right now the temperature sits at -26C, with the wind chill it's more like -46C. Yes, extremely cold! My hat is off to my sister, Sonia for venturing out to capture the sun dogs.  But, she's heading to Haiti tomorrow, so perhaps she's trying to soak up some cold to take along. Apparently it's around 30C there right now. She's going with a group of other Hutterites from various colonies. Baker Colony financially supports a number of schools in Haiti and about twice a year a group goes there to show support in other ways. In the past, they've helped clean and paint buildings or sew blankets for beds in an orphanage; which is another outreach program Hutterites are involved with.

This trip to Haiti reminds me of the earthquake in that country on January 12, 2010.

That year the world channeled rapt attention toward the devastation an earthquake wrought on Haiti. Hearts were moved to reach out in some way. For many it meant donating money. Others gave their time and effort to help with the clean-up and rebuilding. Some sewed clothes and bedding for the people who were left with nothing. Hutterites sewed quilts. This outpouring of love gave a hurting Haitian nation hope and began the healing process.

Our Grades 1-3 students were studying developing countries at the time, and had started collecting pennies in Oct. 2009. When they learned about the Port-au-Prince disaster they felt compelled to help. The youngest children probably couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of this disaster, or even grasp what an earthquake is. Nevertheless their hearts went out to these poor people. One of the children asked, “Maybe we could do something to help.”
Given that this was an excellent opportunity to teach philanthropy along with biblical truths, teacher, Elma Maendel encouraged a discussion. “Jesus taught us to help the poor,” one little girl stated.

“That’s true.” Elma, their teacher replied. They talked about different places they could donate their money to. With renewed resolve they canvassed for pennies from anyone who crossed their paths. 

“We’re collecting pennies for Haiti. Do you have any?” They requested cheerily. With the help of the older children they rolled and counted their pennies and were delighted to learn that they had $100.00 for Haiti.
On a frigid day in February they bundled up and took their pennies to the bank to cash in for a hundred dollar bill. From there they went to the MCC thrift store. Even though their young minds couldn’t fully understand this desolation, their hearts knew what they needed to do. The joy this brought them was written all over their shining faces, as they handed over their offering.

It's heartwarming to see that Hutterites still support Haiti eight years later. I'm hoping to post pictures when my sister comes home in about ten days. Stay tuned!




  1. That sundog is awesome but the story about the children really warms my heart!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. It is heartwarming. We have so much that we take for granted. And I feel it's important to involve children in helping the needy, teach them from a young age to show empathy. Give them a glimpse of how too many people in many places around the world starve daily.


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