Fundraiser helps Toledoan’s work for Haitian childrenWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | email@example.com
Thousands of miles south of here, in the Western Hemisphere’s most poverty stricken country, the machines and minds of Toledo are powering some change.
Jay Nielsen and Jan Meier-Nielsen of Missions International of America (MIA) travel to Haiti regularly to maintain the school they built, visit the clinic and continue other projects. Sunday the group will host a benefit to help fund their school, where 300 kids now learn and 11 teachers work.
Grace United Methodist Church in Perrysburg will house the benefit, called Helping Hands for Haiti, from 2 p.m. — 8 p.m. Admission is free, but food and drinks will be available for a charge. Bands will play outside and entertainment will abound inside, along with a silent auction, a bake sale and a pie contest. The church is located at 601 East Boundary St.
The benefit will offer opportunities to sponsor a Haitian child for $100 a year to cover the costs of a uniform, food, books and payroll for teachers.
Attendees may also buy jewelry, crosses and coasters crafted by Haitians. The artisans, who are mostly women, make $400 a year by making such jewelry from magazine pages.
The Haiti effort has been an ongoing passion for Jay and Jan, whose organization has instated a school, installed wells, planted family gardens and is working on a Farm Resource Center that aims to teach Haitian farmers about modern agricultural techniques.
The school, named the Brad Reddick School, opened in 2006 and serves children from kindergarten through sixth grade.
The teachers make $100 a month.
“And they’re happy with that… a little bit of money does so much there,” Meier-Nielsen said.
MIA has not been alone from the Toledo area — Owens Community College has committed to provide funding for a school computer lab. First Solar has donated 300 solar panels to the organization’s cause, Meier-Nielsen said.
Helping Hands for Haiti is a major fundraiser for the organization and brought in at least $30,000 last year.