One of the bags to be sent to the Friends of the Children of Haiti for use by a pharmacy team in Haiti. Photo by 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? On Friday, July 22, former Smith’s Pharmacist Katie Fry continues her good deeds by making reuseable 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/make reusable bags for the pharmacy in Haiti,” said Fry. “We would like to finish the project which involves stamping/ 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 this activity from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday in a socially distanced facility, where COVID vaccination is required to attend the session. The team will provide stencils, fabric paint, and foil/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.
Nathan Ruby, Executive Director of Friends of the Children of Haiti, has had the pleasure of working with many volunteers like Fry and Hargreaves that 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,” said Ruby. “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, pharmacist, dentist 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,” said Ruby. “We’ve been doing it since the 1990’s 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, so as not to 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 has also made several trips to Haiti,” said Fry. “As a crafter, Elizabeth began sewing bags more than two 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 Friends of the Children of Haiti in Peoria, and on to Haiti a few at a time.