With a flood of donations coming in to help Haiti in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake, it’s clear Canadian Anglicans are moved by compassion and are digging deep.“
I think it’s absolutely incredible – there’s no limit to the generosity,” says Jill Martin, finance and administration team leader for The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).
Two weeks after the quake, which killed upwards of 150,000 people and left more than a million homeless, PWRDF had received some $500,000 in direct donations though cheques and credit card gifts.
And that’s only part of the story. “Our office is deluged, but all the work is replicated at the parish level,” says Martin. “That figure could substantially increase.” It will be a few weeks before parishes across the country have a chance to tally their gifts and forward them to PWRDF. All funds received by February 12 are eligible to be matched by the federal government.
With so much money coming in for one cause, some donors might be wondering how the funds will be used and whether they will be diverted to other causes. Designated donations, Martin explains, must, under law, go where they are designated. “The Haiti funds will go to Haiti.”
Because PWRDF has no partners working in Haiti, money for the time being will go through ACT (Action by Churches Together) International. Some funds will also go through a coordinated inter-church response. As well as immediate relief in the form of clean water, medical supplies, food and temporary shelter, funding will be used to begin reconstruction. (At the time of the quake PWRDF had no established development partners in Haiti, however we are now establishing a working relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and are preparing for a rehabilitation project with them, in addition to contributing to an ACT rehabilitation project.)
Martin continues to be impressed, not just with the generosity and compassion of Canadian Anglicans, but with how engaged they are. The last time there was a huge disaster, during the tsunami of December 2004, it was largely activism by Anglicans that caused the government to provide matching CIDA funds for denominational agencies. “That kind of activism and engagement is what is so compelling,” she says.
During the tsunami, Martin got a strong sense from Anglicans that they shared in the work of PWRDF. The message is “We’re not doing this for you, we’re doing this with you.”
With Haiti, “we’ve seen that same spirit emerging.”
If you are moved to support ongoing emergency response, consider a regular donation to PWRDF. Anglicans are making a difference.
Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .