The summer of 2014 saw a surge of unaccompanied children at the US’s southern border. Most of these children had traveled from Central American countries like Honduras and Guatemala. Many were fleeing violence, poverty, hunger. Don’t forget about them. We haven’t.
Photo by Jude Joffe-Block/Fronteras Desk
Many of the children who came across the border remain in facilities across the US as they await disposition of their individual cases. On their own, or sent by families, they arrived seeking connections with families already in the states, all seeking something better. The increased number of children taxed the border control systems, forcing many into makeshift holding facilities and then into shelters across the country. In August we shipped hundreds of blankets and hygiene kits to children being temporarily housed in shelters in six states.
Recently we sent another large shipment, via our global partner FedEx, to a number of shelters that will begin housing children in February 2015 as they await their immigration hearings. The kids that will be housed in these shelters range in age from 7-17 and most are in their early teens.
Working with the Urban Strategies/National Latino Evangelical Coalition we delivered medical supplies to nine shelters in five states. We learned that the greatest needs are for wound care, chicken pox treatment and pain relief. Thanks to the partnerships we’ve developed with medical supply and pharmaceutical donors we’ve been able to meet the needs of the shelters and the care of the children. Examples of the supplies we shipped: sunscreen, tape, gauze, OTC meds from Johnson & Johnson; Alcohol swabs from BD; thermometers and covers from Welch Allyn; and ointment from Calmoseptine.
Heart to Heart International will continue to help as many of these shelters as we can. You can help us do this.
Support our efforts to deliver care to these children. Help us help them.
As part of our Community Development work in the remote southeast of Haiti, we’ve been helping to coordinate the building of a school in Cascade Pichon.
Now, the school is partially open and should be completed before the year is out.
10-year-old Deswin says to me, “This is going to be the best school in all of Pichon.” I thought to myself, “Well, that can’t be too difficult… the school you have now is a tiny one-room building with overflow benches outside under a tarp that has seen better days. The school is so small that hundreds of children don’t go to school because there is simply no room.”
In 2013, the Cascade Pichon Federation decided it was time to start addressing the next big need – Education. The federation purchased land for the school and then, through building partnerships, Heart to Heart International helped to facilitate the building of the school, working in coordination with the Haitian government which has agreed to send teachers to instruct the children.
Two classrooms are finished and open to students and four more are still being finished. A few days ago, a mini dedication took place for those who are backing the building of the school – an anonymous foundation and the Mid-America Nazarene University – and was attended by a large number of school-children who are using, and who will use, this school. Check out all those kids in the photo below!
According to Wes Comfort, our deputy director of programs in Haiti, “The community is beyond excited, the kids are smiling ear to ear, and families are excited that their children will be able to get a sound education in a proper school without having to leave the community to go to Belle-Anse, Jacmel, or even Port-au-Prince.”
If you’re familiar with Heart to Heart International, you know that above all, we are committed to helping those in need.
This is why we’ve been working to provide aid for many of the children that for whatever reason have come across our nation’s borders from Central America in recent months.
They’re children. And they need the care HHI can help to provide.
While the ‘surge’ of unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border has substantially reduced in recent weeks, and the news coverage has ‘moved on’, there are still thousands of children being housed in a variety of facilities in states across the country, as they await the disposition of their status in the US.
In recent days, utilizing our partnership with FedEx, we’ve sent several hundred hygiene kits and blanket kits to be distributed to children in seven states. Our largest shipment is heading to a facility in Texas – two pallets filled with J&J Hygiene Kits, assembled by volunteers at our Global Distribution Center (GDC).
We’ve also sent a dozen smaller shipments of the Hygiene Kits along with J&J One Child, One Blanket Kits, which are also assembled by volunteers at the GDC. These have gone to shelters in six other states: California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Arizona and Colorado. And once they arrive, these kits will go directly into the hands of a child in need so they can wash and keep clean, and wrap up in a warm blanket as they wait to learn where they’ll go next.
This week, program staff with Heart to Heart International (HHI) delivered medical equipment worth more than $30,000 to a free clinic established inside a Kansas City area high school.
The BullDoc Health Center occupies a handful of old classrooms in a corner of the historic Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. The name is a clever play on words as Wyandotte High is the Home of the Bulldogs. The clinic operates one morning a week on Wednesdays and according to Robbie Howard, a Wyandotte High health sciences teacher, when it is open, 25 to 35 students will be seen by the volunteer medical staff. University of Kansas medical students staff the clinic along with a rotation of KU Hospital doctors who specialize in family medicine. Several of Howard’s students work in the clinic as well, gaining exposure to a ‘real world’ health clinic environment.
The BullDoc Health Center is just one of a several free and safety-net clinics that Heart to Heart supports around the greater Kansas City region. The recent delivery for BullDoc consisted of stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other basic items to outfit and properly run a clinic. The equipment comes from medical equipment manufacturer Welch Allyn through its Ripple Effect program. Ripple Effect works like this: Medical students around the country purchase specific discounted Welch Allyn products; Welch Allyn then gives credits to HHI based on the sale; HHI then uses those credits to acquire Welch Allyn products and deliver needed items to clinics.
MED STUDENTS! Click the photo above to learn about Ripple Effect and enter to win a humanitarian trip with Welch Allyn & Heart to Heart International!
Click the photos below to see a slideshow of the delivery to the BullDoc Health Center at Wyandotte High School (email subscribers please visit the blog to view slideshow).