Thank you for your interest in helping the wonderful children at St Vincent’s School, which actually now is no longer habitable. The children have been moved to an old Episcopal seminary in Montrouis, about 70 miles north of Port au Prince. We hear that they are safe but have no electricity and only have the clothes on their backs, since what little possessions they had were lost in the quake or looted afterwards.
Just last night I spoke with Bill Squire, a priest who was the director of St Vincent’s for 3 years and who bravely went to Port-au-Prince on Saturday after the quake. He flew to Santo Domingo and then traveled by auto across the border and 9 hours later arrived at the tent city where the kids were staying with the Bishop of Haiti. He was carrying $5000 in his boots and gave the money to Pere Sadoni, the priest in charge of the school. Some of that money was used to get the kids safely out of Port au Prince.
Now that the banks are open again in Haiti, Father Squire does not feel he needs to travel personally down to Haiti to take money to the priest. He gave me the following information on the phone last night:
Pere Sadoni (who calls Father Squire every night with an update) requests that we send these items to the children. Clothes for girls including socks, underwear. Toys, toiletries like soap, toothbrushes, and flashlights with batteries (due to no electricity). Apparently the boys were able to salvage some of their clothes from the school but the girls were not. These girls are ages 2-20 but most are elementary school age, and most weigh between 50-75 lbs. These are not American sized children, if you know what I mean. Your offer of toys is perfect. When we visited St Vincent’s in December 2009, we had managed to ship 43 boxes of stuffed animals to the school and were blessed to be able to give those out to the kids. It was such a joy to walk through the dorms the next day and see each crib or bunk with its own stuffed animal. These children have so little possessions; to have their own toy is such a treat for them.
I share your concern about shipping and the possibility of looting. The way to do it is to send the items by US postal service to:
Lynx Air International/PMB
P.O. Box 407139-PAP
Pere Sadoni can pick these items up in Port au Prince, he has to pay a customs fee on his end but it is usually <$2 for small packages. He has money for this purpose, sent to him by Bill Squire.
There are about 50 kids in Montrous now, so you offer of 50 packages is perfect. There are blind and deaf children so keep that in mind; most of the kids are old enough not to put things in their mouths but there are a few young ones who need safe toys without small parts.
Thank you again for your offer and please continue to check this blog for updates about the kids.