Be the Hope: More school supplies sought for children of Haiti

Heather Hinze, founder of a non-profit organization, Be The Hope, distributed backpacks filled with school supplies to students in a Haiti school.

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 12:00 am

Posted on July 17, 2013

Heather Hinze expected to experience poverty and deplorable school conditions during her two-week May visit to post-earthquake Haiti.

But the magnitude of the destitution created by a 7.0 earthquake in 2010 was greater than she imagined. The earthquake killed more than 300,000 people and left more than 1 million people homeless.

“Nothing prepares you for the poverty,” said Hinze, founder of Be The Hope.

“It has taken me a lot of time to process it.

“People have asked me how was Haiti and my reply is, ‘I don’t know. It was so overwhelming.’ ”

Hinze delivered 70 backpacks of school supplies to two orphanages, Mix Emmanuel Primary School and Frem Orphanage. She also brought half of the clothing and shoes she collected as well as bubbles, coloring books, baseball bats and balls.

“My first trip was to get my feet wet and figure out what is going on,” said Hinze.

She learned about a non-profit, Michigan-based organization that ships containers weekly to Haiti. Hinze can purchase space by the square foot to send donated clothing.

By providing children with school supplies, Hinze believes she can alleviate to some extent the financial strain on families to send children to school. Her ultimate goal is education can help break the cycle of poverty existing in Haiti.

She already plans to return in mid-September with 120 backpacks. She is adopting two schools in the mountainous suburb of Fessart, above Port au Prince.

“The area is so poor that the teachers’ main problem is that the children are usually too hungry to concentrate on their learning,” said Hinze.

Many schools provide one meal a day for the students and “it is the only meal for many,” she said.

Hinze returned with handmade jewelry by Haitian women. Hinze is selling the bracelets, earrings and a few metal crosses as a fundraising project. Prices range from $8 to $20. The money goes to the Haitian artisans and her project.

Hinze also is accepting cash donations at her home, 9767 N. Baylor Drive, Fountain Hills. More information also is provided on her website at www.bethehopehaiti.org and Facebook page at bethehopehaiti.

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Hinze welcomes support from any businesses, churches or organizations willing to have a box for donations in their office or lobbies for school supplies.

“Timing is perfect right now; stores will have displays soon on school supplies,” said Hinze.

Each backpack contains a hand pencil sharpener, a box of 24-count crayons, two 100-page composition notebooks, 12-count No. 2 pencils, a pencil case, eraser, 10-pack ball point pens and a 12-inch ruler.

“I’m having a hard time being here knowing that there is so much to be done there and I feel helpless,” she said.

“But at the same time, as far as orphanages and government go, the government is failing and how do you change a government that has been failing for so many years?”

Hinze said she tries to partner with individuals and organizations that she trusts.

“When you decide to give, you hope and pray it is legitimate.”

“It’s definitely challenging. It was not an easy trip,” said Hinze.

One week into the trip, Hinze said she broke down and cried for the first time: “I’ve never seen that level of poverty before, but you see a glimmer of hope in the job on the faces of the kids.”

 

http://www.fhtimes.com/features/featured_stories/article_fcb09b3a-ee59-11e2-a378-001a4bcf6878.html

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We’re Live!

It’s been an exciting week! Our website is live! http://www.bethehopehaiti.org It is my first attempt at “building” a website and, although it’s not perfect, I am very proud of myself! I officially contacted some of my friends and family to let them know what I am doing and passed along my web address, Facebook page and blog info. Thirty eight likes on Facebook already! I’ve also had more views on my blog in the past few days. Baby steps!

I created a Twitter account, but I have never tweeted before in my life! I’m waiting for my teenage daughter to help me out with my first tweet.

Our first crowdsourced fundraising campaign is in the works. I have been agonizing over it; I want to make sure it perfectly tells potential donors what it is I hope to accomplish. I also have a few “perks” in the works that donors can choose from at 3 different donation levels. My hope is to launch it sometime next week. My goal is to raise $4,000.00 (so scary!) which will allow me to purchase 150 filled backpacks needed to help the kids that Frantz works  with.

If you would like to help with our cause, here are some ideas and THANK YOU!