The entire world is responding to the human suffering in Haiti, but for many in our area including Marymount University senior Chardelle Moore, the tragedy struck close to home.
Chardelle, a Communication major, is a native of the Commonwealth of Dominica, an island nation in the Caribbean, but her family immigrated to the United States and now resides in Springfield, Virginia. She is also the current Miss Caribbean Metro USA. Until last week's devastating earthquake, she saw her public role as promoting and bringing knowledge of Caribbean culture to the DC metropolitan area. But, once the magnitude of the disaster in Haiti became evident, Chardelle says: "I had to use my title and the public forum it gives me to make a difference in some way."
As a member of the Caribbean Professional Network, Chardelle helped to organize a drive for survival items, which were collected at the Haitian Embassy on Sunday, January 17. Tapping into her Marymount network, Chardelle enlisted the aid of fellow students and the Marymount administration, all of whom worked together to collect six carloads of supplies in a few short days.
"It was amazing!" she exclaims. "I worked with Marymount's Residence Life, the Admissions office, the African Caribbean Student Association, the Black Student Alliance, local chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and lots of Marymount students to collect and deliver all kinds of baby items, formula, toiletries, bandages, and clothes."
Responsible for organizing the clothing donations, she found that her beauty pageant sash drew lots of interest. "But, what really overwhelmed and moved me," she explains, "was that people just came together, regardless of race, creed, or whatever. Underneath it all, we are all united in helping the earthquake victims."
The Young Caribbean Professional Network is currently working with the Embassy of Haiti to get these supplies sent as soon as it's logistically possible. Chardelle is realistic and notes that the needs of the Haitian people will continue long after the most pressing rescue and health issues are addressed.
Chardelle and others in the Marymount community are continuing to identify additional opportunities to help the Haitian people. At Sunday Masses on January 17, Campus Ministry collected over $1,700 for Catholic Relief Services, and the following day at home basketball games, the Saints collected more than $1,000 for the American Red Cross. Marymount held an interfaith prayer service this week, and another collection for Catholic Relief Services will take place on January 22 at the University's annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo 1 - Marymount University senior Chardelle Moore (back row center, with sash) and fellow Marymount students at Haitian Embassy after delivering six carloards of supplies.
Photo 2 - Bags of critical supplies collected and donated by Marymount students to the Embassy of Haiti.