Many in Haiti go through great lengths to get people to the free clinics. This is a sign of true care for their elders. Courtesy/Bernadette Lauritzen
These re-useable cloth bags for the pharmacy team in Haiti will each get the FOTCOH stamp to remind Haitians to bring the bag with them on every visit to the clinic. Courtesy/Bernadette Lauritzen
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
When the world feels like it will never return to normal, how do you help those you used to help in person?
Friday, former Smith’s Pharmacist Katie Fry continues her good deeds by sewing re-useable bags for the pharmacy team in Haiti.
Two years ago, Fry and friend Elizabeth Hargreaves were working on a project for Haiti just before the world shut down.
“We were trying to collect andmake reusable bags for the pharmacy in Haiti,” Fry said. “We would like to finish the project, which involves stamping and painting the logo on all of the bags.”
The previous bags often were burned or ended up in the ocean, so the result will be two good deeds instead of one.
The ladies need extra hands to make this happen. The Betty Ehart Senior Center will hold a session 12:30-3:30 p.m. this Friday in a socially distanced facility where COVID vaccine is required to attend the session.
The team will provide stencils, fabric paint, foil and newspaper to line bags. Those who can’t attend are welcome to drop off spare change at either center through the end of the month.
Executive Director Nathan Ruby of Friends of the Children of Haiti has had the pleasure of working with many volunteers like Fry and Hargreaves who continue to make lives better for the people in Haiti.
“Our biggest pivot was moving from an active volunteer base who traveled to Haiti 4-6 times a year to provide primary healthcare, to fully Haitian staffing,” Ruby said. “Due to political instability and COVID we have not had a volunteer team in Haiti since September of 2019.”
Luckily, the work had begun to prepare their clinics to be fully Haitian led in 2018. According to Ruby, right now they have 50 Haitian staff including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and non-professional staff. Sadly, Ruby says Haiti continues to deteriorate. That’s why small events like the one this week are so meaningful.
“We are experts in delivering primary healthcare in Haiti,” Ruby said. “We’ve been doing it since the 1990s and we make a huge difference.”
The goal Friday is to create 900-1,000 bags. The volunteer office at the Betty Ehart Senior Center is taking a sign-up list of volunteers at 505.662.8920, to not have too many volunteers at one time.
Fry credits Hargreaves with the success of the project.
“This project is the brainchild of Elizabeth Hargreaves, RN retired, who also has made several trips to Haiti,” Fry said. “As a craft person, Elizabeth started sewing bags over 2 years ago and soon several other people sewed and donated bags, unfortunately we entered a pandemic and we have been sitting on this project.”
Now is the time for the duo to move forward, and hopefully get the bags delivered to Peoria and on to Haiti, a little at a time.
A Haitian mother and child. Courtesy/Bernadette Lauritzen