Help those in need in Haiti by supporting the Rice and Beans for Haiti event this Saturday at the Salvation Army in Naples, a benefit to raise food and money for the community in need in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as well as for the New Life Children’s Home.
The New Life Children’s Home is an orphanage in Haiti that House of Gaia, a nonprofit local and global community outreach organization, has chosen to benefit since its founder first began traveling to Haiti after it was struck by disaster.
Luisa Carter, a Naples resident and multicultural community leader, is the owner and founder of House of Gaia. She has made three trips to this orphanage in Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January 2010.
Carter and fellow organizer Marjorie Ziff-Levine traveled to Haiti to provide the orphanage with a Christmas party and week-long winter camp in December 2010. They brightened the children’s lives by painting their faces with butterflies, flowers, doves and other decorative designs. They swathed the children in colorful cloths of every hue, danced with them while they played music and gave them opportunities to paint and express themselves.
“There was so much hope and joy and love in the eyes of the children and in the eyes of all the people there in the face of such devastation,” Ziff-Levine said.
Most importantly, Carter, Ziff-Levine and others provided the children with necessities such as clothing, food, toothbrushes and other basic items that are needed by people throughout the country.
This trip was also when they realized lack of food was still a major problem in Haiti and House of Gaia wanted to make providing food its priority. This sparked the inspiration for the Rice and Beans for Haiti event which will raise money to purchase food for a tent city in Haiti.
The evening will begin at 5:45 p.m. with a musical opening ceremony, a short video and an introduction by Carter. There will be a live performance of bossa nova music afterward. A Brazilian vegan dinner of rice, beans and greens will be provided by Food and Thought.
According to Carter and Ziff-Levine, the rice and beans meal is symbolic of global unity. In having rice and beans for dinner, guests at the event will be sharing the same meal that Haitians and other members of the Latin community will be having all across the globe.
A vegan dessert will be provided by Loving Hut. The entertainment for the evening, sponsored in part by Outside the Box Studio, includes fire poi and a candle lit closing ceremony that will end at 8 p.m.
To illustrate the need of the people in Haiti, Marjorie shared that she still has a photograph of a ruined wall with only a shattered mirror nailed to its face. Above the mirror hangs a makeshift roof constructed out of a tarp and two poles. A battered chair is the centerpiece to the destitute barber shop.
“That really shows the incredible integrity of a man when he can stand in the middle of a decimated city with nothing to show for it but his scissors in his hand and an old cracked mirror, and still be cutting hair,” Ziff-Levine said.
“We need to help their voice be heard around the world,” Ziff-Levine said. “These cannot be the forgotten people.” She said that Haiti still has decades of restoration of its community ahead of it.
Carter, Ziff-Levine and House of Gaia hope this event will help Haiti repair itself. It is also House of Gaia’s goal to make people more aware of their global community.
“It’s important that people feel like they’re welcome, included, and they are part of it,” Carter said.
The Rice and Beans for Haiti event will take place at the Salvation Army located at 3180 Estey Ave. off of Airport-Pulling Road in Naples.
Seating for the event is limited. Call Carter at (239) 272-6152 for tickets. The suggested minimum donation is $40 for an individual and $80 for a family but any generous amount is welcomed.
All are invited to support this project to help Haiti by making a check donation payable to BeeGaia, Inc. Donations should be mailed to Carter at 1610 Trade Center Way, Suite 4, Naples, FL, 34109. All monetary donations will go directly toward purchasing and distributing rice, beans, salt and water in Haiti which will be conducted by Carter during her visit to the New Life Children’s Home in June.
Other donations of clean clothing, shoes, bath and beauty items, playroom supplies and school supplies will also be collected at that address and will be shipped to Haiti by container. All container items will be guaranteed to be distributed to children in need during the trip in June.
Guests of the event can also support the New Life Children’s Home by purchasing posters, note cards and bookmarks that were made from artwork created by children at the home. The proceeds will be used to buy food for the children. Posters are $10 and note cards are $12 per box. These items can still be purchased outside of the event by calling Carter.