Never Forgotten

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Haiti ReliefPeter Parker’s aunt once looked him in the eye and said to him, “Always remember: with great power comes great responsibility”. Months later, as he emerged into the beloved Spiderman, he never forgot those words. They were what helped him to see that he wasn’t helpless to watch injustice happen. He was empowered to make a difference. As the world began to respond to the crisis in Haiti, we all knew that we could not remain silent; nor could we remain inactive. We had to do something. We had the willingness, and thanks to the help of many friends from around the world, we had the means with which to make it happen. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it would always be worth it.Cole was one of our LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) team that responded to the earthquake crisis immediately. Joining with other supporters of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), they showed up in Port au Prince within 80 hours after the initial earthquake. The situation was full of unspeakable horrors: tryng to help desperate family members search for loved ones under tonnes of rubble, working to get water and food to those who were still in shock and without a single means to provide for themselves, watching helplessly as the bodies of victims began to collect in the streets, and always, the stench of death and loss all around them. It was a lot to process and filter through, but when they returned to Canada, they returned with a desire to do something immediately and efficiently, and suporters of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) responded with compassion and provision.Haiti ReliefOn February 4, two and a half weeks after arriving back in Canada, Cole crossed back over the border into Haiti with a supply truck filled with aid for Port Au Prince. All of it had been purchased with the money sent from around the world to LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), and not a penny was wasted. After initially assessing the situation in January, we had determined that the best way for us to help was to work through David, the director of the children’s home in Port Au Prince that we support. David had identified four key neighbourhoods that were yet to receive any form of aid: they were people that had come to an orphanage, a church, a refugee and camp and one of the “tent cities” that had since erected since the earthquake. There was over 5000 people in total that were in these locations. With the help of many men that David had rounded up, they began to deliver supplies to these areas. Each family that was reached received a package filled with soap, candles, toilet paper, rice, beans, oil, drink mix, bandages, corn mix, clean drinking water, pasta, and cookies. It was the first means of any type of aid that they had received. They had thought they were forgotten, and when the truck showed up they realized that their prayers were heard and that they were valued.Each night, Cole, David, and the volunteers, would return back to the compound of Kay Papa Nou, David’s orphanage. Their building was not destroyed, but it has been damaged enough that they were not able to sleep in it. So, like the millions of other people in Port au Prince, they slept outside on the ground, under tent covers and mosquito harrassment. They are the lucky ones: they at least have a safe place to sleep, food and water, and each other. The only place that Cole could find to set up his “tent” at the compound was in the driveway, next to the chicken coop. Not bad, until 5 AM, when the kids from the orphanage woke him up singing church songs and offered him breakfast: spaghetti with ketchup and sardines. A great way to start the day!Haiti ReliefThat day was a day that Cole will never forget. As they went out in search of the next community that David had identified that needed aid, they found a family across the street from the tent city; only they were without a tent. The husband was blind and their six month old baby laid on the hard dirt beside them. They had lost everything. All they had was the clothes on their back, and even those should have been destroyed long ago. Cole and David took $30 of the supply money and found them a sturdy tent, filling it with food, a mattress, diapers, and other emergency supplies. Something so simple changed their lives completely. They were overwhelmed with gratitude, unable to fully express what this simple gift meant to them. Many of us would spend $30 on a night out and not even think anything of it, yet that simple gift gave them hope and reminded them that they were not alone, nor were they forgotten.Haiti ReliefDavid has set up a brilliant distribution system in the neighbourhoods we have been helping through the money that has been donated to LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). It is getting aid into the hands of people who need it most, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something so simple yet so profound. The word “compassion” is defined by “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering”. This is what it can look like in our day and age: to give hope to the hopeless, provide food for the hungry, be a voice for the voiceless, and to always be mindful that with our great power comes a great responsibility. It is the responsibility to respond where we can, because our choices are powerful and affect the world around us.For those of you who donated toward our Haiti emergency relief efforts, thank you. Your gift has gone a long ways and has been put into the hands that need it most. Your compassion for our Haitian friends and family is an incredible legacy and we are honoured to partner with you.We will be continuing to work in Haiti in the days ahead through our Hero Holiday projects. We need your help! Please consider joining us and/or helping us to fund much needed rebuilding efforts. Every choice we make matters and we are glad that we are in this together. Check out for more information on how to get involved.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 14th, 2010