Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More help for Haiti

We are in full swing of planning for the next trip to Haiti. A group will be going again from the church, planning to leave in 2-3 weeks (date to be settled tonight).

We learned a lot from the last trip, and are more organized and well-prepared for this round of gathering supplies and send-off to Haiti. The group continues to tell story after story of their trip in, about seeing the needs and hurts of the Haitian people. They are all baffled as to why the food they saw on all trucks they were passing and seeing on the news has not arrived to the people. I don't know if it's for security reasons or unsure of where to distribute the items, but the resounding voice from the people they gave food bags to was, "We are hungry". If only there were more groups willing to just head in and feed the people. My heart is heavy to do something, to continue doing something.

If you still have momentum to donate, now that the news shows less and less of Haiti and it strays further from our minds, please know that their hunger and suffering is still very present and real. Although we know we can't feed all of Haiti, we are hoping to reach as many as the money provides for. Just as an example, with $10 U.S. we can buy 22 cans of tuna, or with $55 U.S. we can get 125 pounds of rice. The money goes a long way here and we are excited to plan out the next food buy. Our hope is to fill at least 200 food bags to give out this time around. Last time (about 150 bags) they ended up opening the bags to give out the items individually because there were just so many people in need.

As the donations come in, we will continue to gather items to put in the bags. Thank you for all that continue to pray for Haiti...we can't forget them, it's just been 2 weeks. Thank you for being a part of this. It is incredible.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just in case

The photos are all in collages, you can click on any collage to see the photos larger. Also, I put them in order, but you have to scroll down and read up to see the trip in order. Okay, go read.


I don't know how to even begin to say how my heart is filled and overwhelmed by all that has happened in these weeks. By simply offering to be a way to get supplies to Haiti, donations have come in that directly went into the Haitians' hands. I didn't expect such an outpouring of help, but am encouraged greatly by each dollar that has come in. The pastor of our church said to Ariel the other day that he is praying for each person that has donated. We also thank God for you, for your donations that have blessed the Haitians...and us. It has been such an experience to be used in this way. May all the glory be to our amazing God, for using His people to give back to His people. It unites us all in a special way.

The trips will continue. If you still want to donate money, you can do so by:
-donating through Paypal through this blog
-sending a check to my parents house, which they will deposit to my account. Checks made to Jessi Dixon Veras, sent to:
25142 SE Rugg Rd
Damascus OR 97089

Remember that it is not tax-deductible, as it is going directly through me, but my promise still stands that 100% of the money is going to getting supplies to the Haitians.

Thank you seems like such a small thing to say, it's just that I don't know how to express it in any other way. So...Thank you.

Last stop, the hospital

The final stop was made at one of the many hospitals. They gave water to everyone there, patients, nurses and doctors, helpers, family...everyone. The towels, sheets, mosquito nets, and medicines were given to those in the hospital. You can imagine with so many patients and little resources, there are not enough towels and sheets to go around. It was a special gift to get the towels and sheets and be able to lie on something besides a matress...that many others have been on.
The group was able to pray with many of the patients...as that is the best support that one can give. Continue to pray, pray for each of these patients, for each and every life that has been touched by this.

Second distribution, Port au Prince

Once the group arrived in Port au Prince, they were then able to help another refugee camp. Lines were formed again and food bags distributed in order.

This little man might be one of my favorite photos yet! I like that his shirt says "Grandma and Grandpa's Little Angel". Of course he is.

They said that the food hasn't actually been getting to them and they were so happy to receive these bags. It seems that many people are now heading out of Port au Prince to the country where perhaps they can find some relatives and some relief.
The bags didn't last for everyone that was in line...but they were a blessing to those that were able to receive them.

Entering Port au Prince

After the first stop in the country, the group then made their way to Port au Prince. They said it was the biggest traffic jam they have ever seen in their lives. The destruction is real and massive. Buildings down and destroyed on all sides. They saw lots of UN workers and groups from all over the world.

First distribution in Haiti

The first stop inside Haiti was in a small town along the way. There were many people living in a make-shift camp of tarps and tents. They are people that have fled from the city to be away from the destruction and danger. Even in this town houses were destroyed and cracked. The people were asked to form lines and stay in order for the distribution of the food bags. The mommas with babies went to another side where they received an additional bag of diapers, formula, and a bottle.

Getting into Haiti

The line of traffic to get into Haiti was massive. It took 3 hours to get through one line of traffic! The took a lot of breaks outside the truck to wait it out

Loading, on their way to Haiti

The team packed up so many bags from all the food and supplies that were bought by the donations. There were so many bags that they lost count of how many, but trust me, there were a lot. The other items, like diapers and bottles of oil, were packed aside to distribute individually to those that needed them, and not in every bag.The group left about 11:30 p.m. on Friday night from Montellano and drove through the night. It was about a 9 hour trip to get to the border, so there were a few stops to get coffee and stretch the legs along the way...they had a big job ahead of them!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Back from Haiti

I'm happy to report that the church group has just crossed the Haitian border and are on their way home! From a quick phone call, it appears to have been a total success. They said that not only were the Haitians blessed, but the group as well for having had the opportunity to do this.

I'm sure that the trips will continue to Haiti. I know this has been both a challenge and a way for all of us to be involved. They told me they took a lot of pictures to share with you, so hopefully tomorrow I can do that.

Off to help Haiti

After arriving in at 11:00 pm from Santo Domingo, Ariel and I passed by the church on our way home. The team was just closing the doors of the loaded truck on their way to Haiti. It is an 8-9 hour trip to the border, so they wanted to do that part at night, to be ready to enter Haiti early in the morning. From there it is another few hours to arrive into Port au Prince. The group is formed of Dominican and Haitian men who have a deep desire to serve and come alongside the Haitians in this process. We know this will be the first of many trips into Haiti, as the whole church is excited about being involved and reconstruction. The food bags were all loaded along with all other supplies that were purchased for donation. Thank you again, with all my heart, for the donations that you have sent. We prayed for protection and guidance right before the group headed out. There is also a van following the truck in with Haitians that are looking for family members. We hope there are happy reunions.
As for future donations, we know there will be more trips, so you can still feel free to donate through the blog (not tax-deductible though) for direct relief to the Haitains. It has been heart-warming to see the outpouring of support that has come in. Thank you.

Kids Alive update

Yesterday I got up and headed to La Vega to meet with a group from Kids Alive that was headed to the capitol to pick up the Haitian kids from the hospital. Things didn't work out that way. Along the way, Vic, our director, learned that the hospital wasn't ready to release the 26 kids to Kids Alive. So we went to the office that manages child protection (kind of like CPS) to have a meeting. Our directors went into the meeting, along with the heads from World Vision and UNICEF...and the meeting lasted about 3 hours. In the meantime, we hung out on the bus and in the parking lot talking about the kids we'd be receiving. In the end, we had to leave with no kids and little hope of receiving kids in this way.
For whatever reason, it appears that the hospital has more control of who the kids go to, and they would like to give the kids to a group of nuns who are also helping out. The problem appears to now be that few refugee children have made it into the Dominican Republic, so there are few to take in. We know without a fact though, that there are many orhpaned children wandering the streets in Haiti. The problem lies in bringing the children into the country. Kids Alive's goal was to house the children temporarily while houses were built for them to return to, under Kids Alive care still, in Haiti.
Kids Alive is still willing and ready to receive 50-60 kids, and the contacts made during this meeting were very important. In the days ahead, conversations will continue as to the best way to move forward. Pray for wisdom and courage to handle these decisions correctly.

Happy Birthday Ariel

In all the busy-ness of getting things together, we managed to return to a bit of normal for a bit to celebrate Ariel's bday. He went to bed after me the night before, and I knew he'd be up before me, so I had to get up at 4am to leave a surprise of the apt all decorated for him to wake up to. It was worth it, his face was perfect when he saw it! We had friends over in the evening and Ariel cooked up a LOT of meat for them all (even if it was 10 pm before it was ready!) We then had some Bday cake and fell into bed to sleep. Many are doing the same as we are in their help for Haiti, but in different areas. Some friends are headed to help some friends that are starting an orphanage get set up for their first few days. It is worth it, all the running around and lack of sleep, it is worth it!! Happy Birthday Ariel!!

Last big buy before Haiti trip

Our last shopping trip was Thursday afternoon when we bought mosquito nets, sandals, towels, and sheets. This is the latest list of things we've heard that people are needing. It was all left in the church where a group worked to divide up the food items into individual bags for easier distribution. It was so incredible to see all the supplies together and know it was headed into the hands of the Haitians who really need it.
The donations had the "loaves and fishes" effect where each time I went to pay, I got a little nervous that I had spent too much. But, amazingly, it was always under what I had to spend at that time! What a blessing this will be to them that receive it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today's the day

Today is a big day! I'm leaving this morning (although it feels like the middle of the night still!) to meet those coming down from Jarabacoa so we can all go together to Santo Domingo. We will be headed to one of the biggest hospitals in Santo Domingo and getting 26 kids that the government has ready for us. There were to be 27, but thankfully a relative was found so we'll have one less! Not sure what to expect with these guys, we've been told they've all been receiving IV fluids, so I'm assuming they've been dehydrated and needing it! Apparently all the kids were found wandering the streets with no relative to be found. We are ready to help meet their needs and start this journey with them.

The supplies that you all donated for are headed to Haiti today! It has been so incredible to see the amount that has come in, Thank you!! I'll keep you updated and send pictures of the whole trip they're taking as soon as I can.

Pray for today. I feel at my limits emotionally and physically, and we are all feeling that. I'm looking for a little of God's super strength today. The days have been long but I feel blessed to have been a part of it. It'll be nice to have a few nights of good sleep when I come back on Sunday. I'm not sure if I'll head back to Jarabacoa again, we'll see how the progress goes. At the moment, we won't be receiving kids in Caraballo, that should come later in the week as more kids are identified and registered and then sent along to Kids Alive.

And lastly pray for the transitions of this day, for getting the kids, for their reactions, for peace and safety to reign over all the trips that are happening. Thes kids have been through so much, they need a rest and a safe place. It's exciting to be able to provide that. www.kidsalive.org/haiti-relief/

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The magical word for these days is movement. We've been doing a lot of that! We went shopping again after work today and are excited about how much will be sent over to Haiti this week. Today we focused more on diapers, salami, and pasta, and tuna. Trying to look for more than just the rice, but putting protein items in like the meats and beans. We threw in some extras like cereal and dried milk along the way too! We did happen to get another 250 pounds of rice and 125 pounds of sugar!
Tomorrow (Thursday) is a holiday (AND Ariel's birthday!!!) and the church does an annual reunion to discuss the past year. So between meetings we'll head back to the city to fill up on water and juices.
On another note, we did feel the earthquake this morning, but just a little. They have said to expect many earthquakes more over the next month or two as the earth is moving a lot under us. It's kind of a helpless feeling, but life has to continue.
With Kids Alive, I got a great phone call this evening that the kids are now at the border, have been photo's and registered and are headed to Santo Domingo tomorrow to the hospital for an exam. If released, they could be with us as soon as tomorrow, otherwise Friday! It sounds like we will be slowly receiving sets of kids as they are processed and sent on to us. They will first head to the mountains in Jarabacoa and Constanza, then head to us as more come in. They are kids that officials have found wandering the streets with no adult attached to them or that they could find. The government will still try to find any living relatives, but it may be that we have a whole set of true orphans...and I'm afraid that we're seeing just a tip of the big iceburg of orphans that Haiti will now encounter. If you are interested in donating to Kids Alive, you can do so through www.kidsalive.com/haiti-relief/.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update to last post

Just to update some new information we got tonight. The group will be going through the South border and Ariel, thanks to working for the government, has set up to have 4 Dominican military guards will meet them at the border and ride with them (on the outside of the truck) into Port au Prince where the goods will be unloaded and then head back to the border. We are excited for this trip and thankful that we can help in whatever way we can. Thank you!!!

Also, from what I understand, Kids Alive says that the kids are being registered and photo'd at the border and will hopefully be to us in the next day or two. www.kidsalive.org/haiti-relief/ for more info or to donate to Kids Alive and the kids that are coming. In Haiti, Kids Alive is also housing 50 new kids on site and doing their best to meet the needs of these kids!

Help is on its way

The shopping continued today!! This afternoon we got 40 salamis (how do you pluralize salami anyhow??), diapers, milk, formula, bottles, and pads. We're getting lists of things that the Haitians are really needing right now and are thankful to be able to fill the needs immediately!

The pile of supplies being sent just keeps growing, thanks to your donations!! Can't wait to put it on the truck on Thursday to send it into the hands of the Haitians! It's going in a closed truck through the Northern border, being driven by Haitians and Dominicans from the church. They'll be going to a site that has been reported as safe for delivering goods, so we pray against looting and violence. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day by day

My heart aches more as each day passes. I don't know how to handle all the death, all the amputations, the hurting, the infection, the lack of everything. To see photos of people fighting over a can of air freshener. Really, air freshener?

I want to do more, I want to be there, to help with my hands. But I haven't felt yet that it's been clear for me to go. We are expecting the arrival of 50 Haitian children (10-15 for our site) sometime this week and I want to be here to welcome them, to love them, to just sit and cuddle. I need to be here right now, so I am. I don't know what to expect from them, what state they will be in. I expect they will be broken, both physically and emotionally. I pray for wisdom in my interactions with them, that I can pour out love all over their brokenness. I am grateful that we are able to take in 50 kids from refugee camps or wandering the streets, even just for a little while. The idea is that we will care for them for 6 months, the time of their visa and the time it will take to build houses and find staff to care for them back in Haiti. You can follow the progress or donate to the help on the Kids Alive website

I am humbled how so many people have come together to donate such a huge amount for the goods we have purchased to be delivered to Haiti. The first trip going out from our church will be on Thursday. Thank you for continuing to love the Haitians in this way.

I am hopeful that one of these times, it will be right for me to go. I like to go. But I will wait for the right time, when I know that that is what I am supposed to do. I am hopeful for the things that are ahead, for the Haitians to have a chance to start over, to heal, to be beyond the rubble.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rice and Sugar for Haiti

We went to the market today and got 250 lbs of rice and 125 lbs of sugar! This is amazing. We then broke the sacks down into 5 lb bags for easy distribution. It was then taken to the church to wait with what was purchased yesterday, for the trip on Thursday! Tomorrow we're off to the local pharmacies to see what we can bargain for medical supplies! Thank you for the donations that continue to come in, both through this blog and for Kids Alive at www.kidsalive.org!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Preparing for Haiti, thanks to YOU

Ariel and I were able to do a great big supply buy today, thanks to all the donations coming in. We first went to Santiago to PriceSmart, which is similar to Costco, where we stocked up on bulk supplies. Then we went to a local supermarket in Puerto Plata where we bought smaller sized items.
The total list of items bought today includes: baby formula, baby bottles, powdered milk, canned corn, canned tuna, oil, soap, beans, salt, tomato paste, more beans, little canned sausages, more beans, more pasta, corn powder, liquid seasoning, bouillon, soup, crackers, dry beans, saltines, milk in boxes, oatmeal, juices (boxes and plastic bottles), matches, toilet paper, bleach, disposable plates, sanitary pads, baby food, spoons, and LOTS and LOTS of water.
Tomorrow we are going to the market where we will buy a massive sack of both rice and sugar and then break them down into smaller bags (it goes further buying in bulk). We are hoping to be able to buy medicines in the coming days as well.
All we can say is that we are so blessed by each one of you that has given and continues to give. It is a privilage to be able to be the "in-betweeners". We have already taken the items to church and continue to help with the plans for Thursday's trip into Haiti. If you are still interested in donating, by all means keep it coming. Don't forget that donations made this way can't be tax-deductible. As money comes in, we will continue to buy items to send. See the previous post for ways to donate.
Remember also about Kids Alive is still gathering donations which will be used to help Kids Alive, Haiti, as well as help bring in and maintain the Haitian kids in the coming week. You can donate, (Kids Alive is tax-deductible), to Kids Alive at http://www.kidsalive.org/ .
May God continue to pour out His blessings on each of you, we are honored to be trusted with this task.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Supplies to Haiti

We got it figured out! So here's what to do if you would like to donate to supplies that we'll buy here in the DR and that will go out at various times over the coming days. The next planned trip is leaving on Thursday from our church heading into Port-au-Prince. There will be other local groups leaving consistantly, but that is the first reliable group planned at the moment.

-You can easily donate through Paypal on the right

-Send a check written to Jessi Dixon Veras to:

25142 SE Rugg Rd

Damascus OR 97089

-Take money directly to my parents' house at the address listed above.

However the money arrives, I will let you know that I have received it (please leave an email address). Again, this is not through Kids Alive, this is solely for the purpose of putting goods quickly into the hands of the Haitians via local Haitian/Dominican groups that are headed to Haiti.

We'll be buying supplies that have been requested like: water, canned food (beans, corn, etc.), rice, hygiene supplies (soap, pads, toothpaste, toothbrushes), medical supplies (antibiotics, gauze, pain reliever, etc).


Once things start moving, they move quickly! It has been a busy day.

I want to first update about donations that people are wanting to make to buy supplies that are going over immediately to Haiti. We are still working with the bank, but I have now recieved and EIN number which allows this to be more like a non-profit so I don't get in a mess with financial records...important! We are waiting for confirmation from the bank about opening an account and then I will have all the details. This should be done today as we want to provide water and food and supplies right now. As soon as I know, you will know. Thank you. Thank you for your overwhelming support of the Haitian community and for speaking so quickly.

I was so nearly ready to head out with a group to the Haitian border where there is a small hospital receiving Haitian victims. Something in my gut told me to wait a minute, so I turned down the trip. Within minutes, I found out that Kids Alive just got approved by the government to bring in 50 Haitian kids to the DR!! Again, it is moving fast, but plans are coming together to divide the kids between a few of the DR sites, so we will take in about 15 kids. We will have them for approx 180 days (the length of their visa) and will provide total care for them. At the moment, it is still coming together about where they will stay and who will take care of them, but we are close to having a plan. These kids will be from 3-8 years old, some may have parents, some will be total orphans, speaking probably only Creole...and need lots of love. I can only imagine what they have lived through and seen in these days. I am struck by the photos, they have seen it with their own little eyes. So my gut (i.e. God) was right in me staying behind and helping work out the logistics of bringing in these little guys. I'll update as often as I can, with as much info as I get!

Keep praying, our God is moving greatly and to Him be the glory for it all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Help

I know everyone wants to help, we want to do something, so I want to offer yet another way to help. I want to say that this will not be through Kids Alive, will not be tax-deductible, but I promise that every penny will be given to the purpose. This is something that came into my path, into my heart, and I want to offer it to others as well.

There are multiple groups of Haitians and Dominicans from local churches and organizations that are headed into Haiti with relief supplies. Ariel and I did a small supply buy tonight and were able to get a lot of things that will be in Haitian hands on Saturday. As we were checking out I thought how great it would be to be able to continue sending food/water/hygiene items with these groups that are heading across the border. We are hearing right now that water in Haiti is worth more than money itself. If anyone is interested in donating money, we can purchase items locally that can be delivered quickly by groups that are heading there in the coming days.

Please email me at: JNicole228@yahoo.com if you are interested and want details.

Please know that you can also donate to Kids Alive Haiti who is on the ground as well in Haiti, tax-deductible, through www.kidsalive.org. Thank you for caring, thank you for giving, thank you for praying.

DR Hospitals

I've finally been in touch with the 2 hospitals here in the Dominican Republic that are receiving patients from Haiti. Both said that at the moment, they are not in need of extra nurses as the amount of patients arriving has not been overwhelming yet. They have taken my number and I will continue to call as the days ahead reveal more people needing attention and more need.


My desire still burns to do something, to be involved, but for now, I wait. By all reports, Haiti is dangerous right now. It's dangerous in the best of times in Port-au-Prince, so you can imagine how it would be now when times have somehow become more desperate. I have called a few hospitals and sent emails to try and go help if I can where they are receiving wounded people from the earthquake in the capitol here. So far, nothing. So I wait and pray and trust that if it's what I'm supposed to do, I'll know it and the right doors will be open. I don't want to just into something just because I feel like it, but to know that God has paved the path for me to be there. Many small groups are trying to get across to Haiti, mostly groups with Haitians/Dominicans which is safest for the moment. Continue to join me in praying for them all. We hope to be back in school tomorrow, I'm anxious to take attendance. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake update

What a night. As you all know, the island was rocked by an earthquake yesterday afternoon. I was waiting for Ariel in the car when it hit and was so unsure of what was really happening. I thought it was strong wind or someone making the car move...but then I saw Ariel run out to signal me to stay put. So I did. We drove home directly and began searching the internet (don't have TV or radio unfortunately). At that point all the tsunami warnings were rushing in, including specific times the waves would hit for each area, Puerto Plata included. We live about 1/2 mile from the ocean so it was a real concern to us. We thought about heading to the mountains if it was necessary, but thanks to lots of people Stateside who we were talking with, and just waiting it out, we eventually found that the warning had been lifted. Scary stuff. I just kept imagining Indonesia and the tsunami that hit there.

We thank God for the safety of those here in the DR, but are struck deeply by the devastation in Haiti. School was cancelled for the country today, so we are unable to get a better idea of what is happening for families of our Haitian kids. Many of the kids went to Haiti to be with family over the Christmas break, and I am left with nothing more than my ablities to pray and trust in our God. He is sovereign. He sits enthroned as King and has a purpose in all things. Even when I don't understand. No, ESPECIALLY when I don't understand.

My immediate reaction is that I want to do something. I'm so close to the border to be able to help, but I will wait until I hear more about any groups or organizations I might be able to go with. It is hard to be so close and do nothing. I want to go find our kids, as impossible as that is. I want to be back in school to take attendance and see exactly how many are gone.

So there are no solid answers yet. We must wait. We must pray. We must see the glory of our Lord even when it seems He has turned His back. He is here, He is in Haiti, He loves each one of those people. Praise Him, for He knows what is happening.

I will keep you posted of new developments that aren't general news knowledge. Thank you for your emails and concerns and prayers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Friends. I am so thankful for them. They help me think better, to live better, to be better.
It's time to post something on my blog again, but as school is just getting back in and vacation has been restful at home, there has been little in the way of blog material.
I just was organizing my photo albums and came across all the grade school and high school photos and was reminded again of the importance of friendship. Things haven't changed for me either. It's surprising how busy I can get myself and forget to take time out, but I'm so thankful that I have once we have gotten together. Lately it's been movie nights with the girls, which is so fun. Making cake and popcorn just because, and being together, is so special. It's nice, too, to have a "couple" friend, like when we were in Jarabacoa, we got to spend some good time with Leona and Anyelo...who we share a lot in common with. It's nice to have friends, to share with, to grow with.