Volunteers travel to Haiti to help build orphanage

Updated: 01/24/2014 8:32 PM
Created: 01/24/2014 4:22 AM WHEC.com

It’s been four years since an earthquake hit in Haiti, but the works of rebuilding continues and early Friday morning, a group of volunteers left Rochester to help in that effort.

More than a dozen volunteers should be in Haiti by now. The group left Rochester Friday morning by private jet for a three and a half hour flight. They are going to finish what they started four years ago, to build an orphanage, hit hard after that devastating earthquake in 2010. Intervol, a local non-profit, is organizing this trip, sending medical supplies and manpower.

There was a lot of excitement and a little anxiety for this group Friday morning. These volunteers are about to board a Constellation Brands jet to whisk them off to Haiti. For many, it's their first trip

Alex Frederick, Constellation Brands, said, “I’m really excited about this trip. I think it will be a great experience to give back and really help some people in need.”

For others, it is a return journey to the city of Leogane. All are united in their mission to help build an orphanage destroyed four years ago after a seven point magnitude earthquake hit Haiti.

Timothy O’Connor, Intervol, said, “Where we’re going, 90 percent of the village destroyed. It was right in the epicenter of the quake.”  

Timothy O’Connor is one of 14 volunteers from Intervol, Constellation Brands, Rochester General Hospital and Delaney Bay. He’s been there before. So has Ralph Pennino with Rochester General Hospital. He remembers children living in tents. Now bunk houses are now going up.

Ralph Pennino, RGH, said, “We did a fundraiser. We raised 60 thousand dollars and the bunk houses are presently being built and were going to go down and help them finish that.”

A total of three bunk houses are being built along with a kitchen, dining house for 48 children at home of hope orphanage. 

O’Connor said, “This is a long term ongoing maintenance issue. Now it’s not just a post-earthquake thing. This is rebuilding at this point. 

They all know they can only do so much on this four day trip.

Ginny Clark, Constellation Brands, Can’t save the world but we can always try to make a small difference.”

And for those who've been before, they know they'll return home with so much more.

Pennino said, “It is giving of the purest form you're just helping no payment is expected. You get a smile and that’s all you need.”

Building the orphanage is providing something else besides shelter for the children. It is providing jobs for local Haitians as well.

More than a dozen volunteers from Rochester are on their way to Haiti. The group is planning to finish building an orphanage.

Some of the children who live there are survivors of the devastating earthquake in 2010. Intervol, a local nonprofit that helps countries in need, organized the trip.

Volunteers say the area they’re headed to in Haiti still needs so much help rebuilding.

Timothy O’Connor, volunteer, said, “Where we’re going, 90 percent of the village was destroyed. It was right at the epicenter of the quake. It’s bittersweet in a way because you can only do so much.”

The group will help build there bunk houses, a kitchen and dining room. When the finished, it will shelter 48 orphans.


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