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Loyola community mobilizes to bring 'Hope to Haiti'

Loyola press release - January 15, 2010

The Loyola University New Orleans community is uniting to respond to the devastation of the Haitian earthquake through a variety of events, fundraising and spiritual support for Haitians and their loved ones abroad. Several Loyola students, alumni, faculty and staff are Haitian or have family members directly impacted by the earthquake.

Realizing the immediate need for aid in the relief efforts, the Hope for Haiti task force was assembled last Friday to identify relief resources and plan for a sustained aid effort to the island nation and to community members affected by the tragedy. Hope for Haiti also has started a blog at http://blogs.loyno.edu/haiti/, where the public can learn more about Loyola's efforts.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, Loyola hosted a free concert dedicated to Haiti at which audience members could donate funds toward the relief effort and learn the ways they can help the Haitian people. The concert, led by Loyola Director of Orchestras and Haitian emigre Jean Montès, was actually planned far in advance of the earthquake as a joint performance of the New Orleans Youth Orchestra, the Loyola Symphony Orchestra and the Cornell University Orchestra. Cornell musicians came to New Orleans as part of a service project to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

Last Sunday, the Ignatius Chapel Mass community raised $3254.25 during collection, which will be donated to organizations with which Loyola has a connection.

The University Counseling Center is available 24 hours a day to respond to students and employees who need help coping with the crisis or who may be recalling painful memories of Katrina by watching coverage from Haiti. Counselors can be reached from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., by calling 504-865-3835 or visiting Room 208 of the Danna Student Center. To reach an on-call counselor after hours, call the Loyola University Police Department at 504-865-3434.

The Hope for Haiti task force is also planning a prayer service, a music benefit on Feb. 26, and arrangements for long-term Haitian aid from the university community.

For now, donations can be made to the Office of Mission and Ministry or by visiting the following organizations:

· Jesuit Refugee Services

· Catholic Relief Services

· The American Red Cross

· Partners in Health

For a list of other reputable organizations, visit http://www.clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake/.

There are two ways to donate to the relief efforts via text message:

  • Texting HAITI to 20222 will release a $10 donation to the Clinton Foundation and charge users' cell phone bills.
  • Texting HAITI to 90999 will release a $10 donation to the American Red Cross and charge users' cell phone bills.

Anyone seeking information on friends and family in Haiti can contact the U.S. State Department Operations Center at 1-888-407-4747, or by sending an email to the State Department.

For more information on Loyola’s relief efforts or to donate, contact Kurt Bindewald, director of University Ministry at 504-865-2083 or kjbindew@loyno.edu or Robert Reed, assistant vice president for Student Affairs at 504-865-3737 or rareed@loyno.edu.