By: D. Bruce Johnston, President, DBJ Associates
As we struggle with how to provide support for those suffering through the horrors of the earthquake in Haiti, my friend Dave Valle and his great organization Esperanza comes to mind.
Dave has dedicated his post-baseball life to Esperanza International, a charity whose mission “is to free children and their families from poverty through initiatives that generate income, education and health, restoring self-worth and dignity to those who have lost hope”.
Just days after the Haitian earthquake hit Dave had accounted for his team in the area, mobilized them and sent the following letter to supporters of Esperanza:
Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts and support of Esperanza’s work in Haiti. I wanted to give you a quick update on our progress on the ground in Port Au Prince.
All of Esperanza’s staff are safe. The Esperanza office is located in the Northeast portion of Haiti which did not sustain much damage. Carlos Pimentel, Esperanza’s VP of International Operations, is in charge of our Rapid Response Strategy. He has served in the DR for 20 years on the Dominican Republic’s Disaster Relief and Mitigation team. His knowledge and contacts on situations like this are second to none on the island.
We have begun a herculean effort on the ground last week as Esperanza leads a coordinated effort of relief through our large network of partners and churches who, along with Esperanza, have a history of work in the communities. This is critical in the distribution of aid. We are known entities, who have been serving the communities for many years. This will prevent much of what you are seeing on the news reels…fighting for food and unorganized distribution, chaos.
Esperanza had 12,000 food packs in storage as part of our disaster preparedness plan for the island (tropical storms and hurricanes) that were sent immediately. There is more on the way. We now have a warehouse on the DR border where we are moving supplies from Santo Domingo (where prices have not risen yet) to the warehouse, then from the warehouse to P AU P for distribution to our network. As of yesterday, Esperanza opened a new office and distribution center in Port Au Prince in alliance with one of our partners that will serve as our base of operation. We have 2 Doctors there also to provide medical care.
There are many people and organizations coming along side Esperanza to provide support. We will need more.
Pray for Esperanza’s leadership in this huge undertaking. And Thank You for your support over the last 15 years, helping Esperanza to become an organization that has the capacity to respond in this manner and one that others look to for leadership in a time such as this!
Just getting started!
Under Dave’s leadership Esperanza consistently invests over 97% of your donation. If you are looking to help Esperanza has an immediate necessity, and is requesting from their partners abroad, gifts in cash, which will help expedite the arrival of relief to the region. A $40 donation to Esperanza´s Disaster Relief initiatives will provide a family with the basic necessities (food, bottled water, healthcare kits etc.) for ten days.