Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From Andy Harnett (Haiti)

Well, Saturday did not go as planned in Haiti. Sorry Andy! Glad you are feeling better!! Keep up the good work!

Andy Hartnett Home (Andy Hartnett):
"Saturday was a day that I wont forget, I was very weak and running to the bathroom very often. Other than that I slept for what felt like days. That issue past in the next day or so and I was told that it was good to go through it as it made my immune system stronger, I guess what doesnt kill you makes you stronger right? Back to work on Monday, I was avoiding the rubble crews as I wanted to fully make sure I was better. I joined a crew assisting what we call the non group, which is actually just a few guys that got together with some money and came down with a design that uses PVC piping and a material similar to what they wrap boats with. They have enough materials to make over 1000 temporary shelters which look like a white half dome. about 15 ft long by 9 feet wide. It seems like a cool project"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bethlehem, Uganda

Bethlehem, Uganda
Originally uploaded by Bona_Responds.
An amazing job site! Can you imagine carrying bricks by hand to build your own school?

"Here are students from the Bethlehem Parent's School and Orphanage in Southern Uganda bringing bricks to their school to help build a new baby classroom at their school. The older kids were happy to pitch in and help carry the bricks to speed up the construction.
The Bethlehem Parent's School and Orphanage is a private primary school with over 500 students- about 290 of the children are orphans and about 120 of the orphaned children live in dorms at the school. The school is a major partner of SBU organization, "Embrace it Africa" (

Thanks Lyndsey and EmbraceitAfrica!

Pictures from International Service Day

BR Chicago - Unity Park 47
Originally uploaded by Bona_Responds.
While the blog and writing is not done, and the website still needs to be revamped, quite a few sites do have pictures of the day up.

For the entire group of pictures so far uploaded, see:

Also PLEASE call the voicequilt line and please add your own pictures and reflections. For instructions, see:

REALLY impressed w all the

REALLY impressed w all the jobs that got done on Sat. will write a real blog article soon, but for now THANK YOU! Very cool to be part of something this big.

Great work, great stories and great fun around the globe. Thank you to all who were involved!

Saturday, March 27, 2010 | talking about International Service Day! |:
"Tomorrow is International Service Day and I couldn't be more excited... I'm certain it will be and exhausting, yet rewarding day of service to others. I am especially excited to meet all of the other volunteers and to see what we can accomplish. I'll be swinging by the office early tomorrow morning to pick up a camera so i can add to the photo/video album that will be created.

I've received a heart-warming donation from an old friend of a canopy type tent. It will be of great use to the Bonaresponds volunteers moving forward during local service days and fundraisers. I'll be picking it up tomorrow morning at 730am and will keep it at the house until the next local service weekend. I had hoped it would be useful tomorrow, but in talking to Jim, it appears everything is already in order. Thanks George!!"

Friday, March 26, 2010

The world responds with Bona's - Web Exclusives

The world responds with Bona's - Web Exclusives: By Meaghan o"Rourke
"It's a snapshot of service around the world, and Bona's is leading it,' BonaResponds' faculty adviser Jim Mahar said.

Mahar didn't have an exact count of local volunteers, but he said he would be happy if just one person showed up.

'The goal of International Service Day is to get as many people helping out as possible. Small or big, it doesn't matter the size of the job, go help someone,' junior Steven Gearhart said.

Service will occur at more than 30 sites across the globe and throughout the United States.

'It's basically a request for people wherever they are, whoever they are, to go out and help someone,' Mahar said. 'And then when they're done with the day, to tell us about it.'"

Editorial - Haiti’s Misery -

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase

Editorial - Haiti’s Misery -
"The emergency in Haiti isn’t over. It’s getting worse, as the outside world’s attention fades away. Misery rages like a fever in the hundreds of camps sheltering hundreds of thousands of the 1.3 million people left homeless by the Jan. 12 earthquake. The dreaded rains have already swamped tents and ragged stick-and-tarp huts. They have turned walkways into mud lakes and made difficult or impossible the simple acts of collecting and cooking food, washing clothes, staying clean and avoiding disease. The rainy season peaks in May."
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Handout for International Service Day

Handout for BonaResponds International Service Day

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How International Service Day will work locally (from SBU)

While many events will be going on around the globe, in Western NY we also have a full schedule locally!

The majority of volunteers from the local area will be going to Buffalo. It will be a full day of volunteering at more than 10 sites. This will be out of Villa Maria where Kim Kotz and her Villa Volunteers have done an excellent job of organizing the events. For more info on the events in Buffalo click here.

However, in the Olean area we will also have several events going on. These can be full day jobs or partial day if you can not make it for the entire day.

We will be meeting at 8:25 AM Saturday(vans leave as close to 8:30 as possible) in the Aud in Murphy.

A PARTIAL Olean jobs List includes:
  1. Red Cross' Storm the Mall--Disaster Preparedness Fair.
  2. American Red Cross Blood Drive
  3. Olean Theater Workshop
  4. Bartlett House helping to organize storage
  5. Street Clean up--Union St. in Allegany
  6. River Road "Bend" clean up
  7. Street Clean up--By the Waters Nursing Home in Olean
  8. Field clean up--By the Lacrosse-Softball Field/Bob's Woods Pond on Campus
More jobs to be announced as soon as they are finalized.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BonaResponds International Service Weekend coverage in OTH

Service Day Spreading Across the Globe

"BonaResponds is organizing this but it’s open to anyone,” said Jim Mahar, St. Bonaventure associate professor of finance and founder of BonaResponds. Volunteers can help people with tasks that are as simple as walking a dog and grocery shopping to building house or working in a soup kitchen.

“An alumnus from Chicago, Tom Cullen, sort of suggested they would do a volunteer day to correspond with one of our days, at which point we said why not do this globally,” Mr. Mahar said in explaining the genesis of the project. “We just started spreading the word and people keep signing up for it."

Read all of it here.

What is going on in Buffalo on Saturday?

We were asked about Buffalo, here you go:

"Join us for the Villa Volunteers/BonaResponds International Service Day

Saturday, March 27th
Sign Up Here!!!

We are going to be helping many different organizations, including:

* St. Monica Middle School- a school for disadvantaged girls
* Kevin Guest House- a “home away from home” for patients and their families receiving treatment in Buffalo Hospitals
* Food Bank of WNY
* The Franciscan Center- a home for homeless young men
* Moving Miracles- a dance school for children with disabilities
* The Franciscan Guest House- a local church that runs a food pantry, children’s health clinic, and thrift store
* Bob Lanier Center for Educational, Physical, and Cultural Development
* Buffalo Re-Use
* St. Columba-Brigid Youth Center
* Vive La Casa- a refugee center
* Bethel Head Start"

International Service Day Newsletter

International Service Day

The basic idea of the day is to go and make the world a better place. And then, spread the good that you did with others around the globe!

We all have talents to share. Too often we don't try to do something to help because we fear our little impact would be too small to matter. This is a day to show that we all matter and that if everyone does a little, much will get done.

And that we can make the world a better place!

The work need not be hard. It need not be of a grand size. It just needs to be in the spirit of helping. The job can be as small as helping an elderly neighbor to the store or walking dogs at the Humane Society (SPCA). On the other hand it can be as large as organizing hundreds of volunteers in Haiti or Chile in earthquake recovery.

All the jobs are important. All are needed.

Volunteer and Change the World

Location: wherever you are. Officially we will have events in ten countries and in over 25 US cities

Time & Date: Saturday, March 27th, 2010. Times will vary by location.

What to Bring: A good attitude, a willingness to help, and extra smiles to pass on. (Oh and a camera!)

Attire: Varies with location, but in most places you be working so dress appropriately and for weather conditions.

Some of the sites: (this is by no means a complete list as we don't even know the entire list!)

  • Atlanta GA- a crew from Haygood Methodist Church will be working on a Habitat Build for a family from Iraq

  • Birmingham AL-will be working at a home for women just released from prison

  • Buffalo NY-will have over 100 people working at 10 different sites in conjunction with VillaVolunteers and the SBU Alumni

  • Cambodia: Sean (one of the original leaders of BonaResponds) will be working at an orphanage

  • Chicago IL- a large group of volunteers led by BonaResponds-Chicago will be working at Grant Park

  • Leogane Haiti- Andy (another of the original BonaResponds leaders) will be working on earthquake recovery

  • Olean NY: Mary (another of the original BonaResponds leaders (and Jim's sister) will be working with the American Red Cross on disaster preparation

  • New York City, NY- Bridget (another of the original BonaResponds leaders) and her family will be cooking for a local homeless shelter.

  • San Diego CA- Sarah, Carrie, and others will be helping a retired Marine who has been living in his garage since wildfires swept the area in 2007.

  • Los Angeles CA- Anna and over 100 of her closest friends will be helping with a large health fair, walk, and run.

  • Philadelphia PA- Three teams will be working on painting, a lot clean up, and with children at a local pool.

  • Greenville SC- Fr Pat will be working among the poor and often forgotten around his parish.

  • Ethiopia- Sr. Rosie will have a crew of high school children working around her hospital

  • Dallas TX- approximately 20 volunteers will be helping physically challenged children enjoy a day at a local horse ranch

  • Machias NY-Pete and his CYC crew will be repairing picnic tables, painting, and cleaning a park
  • Washington DC-A group of alumni led by the Zimmers and Anthony will be working at a food bank.
  • Your hometown- you tell us!

Many more sites will be doing things! But you get the idea. And you can join the list too! It is not too late.

(See for more info on how to get involved, or just go do something on your own!)

While working:

  1. Be Safe. We want to get much work done, but staying safe is job #1.

  2. The normal legal disclaimers apply. As volunteers you are on your own. We are suggesting you go and help others, but you are all assuming risk on your own behalf. Which means you can not sue St. Bonaventure, BonaResponds, or anyone else involved with this day.

  3. Talk to others. Don't just work. It is supposed to be fun. Play music. Talk.

  4. Whenever possible, get others involved. Especially those you are helping. This is great for their mental outlook and makes it much more meaningful for the volunteers as well. (invite them back to "camp" for a meal if at all possible").

  5. Things will go wrong. Don't sweat it too much. Remember better not perfect.

  6. Be flexible. If you start out to do job A and job B gets done instead, oh well. Often these things happen for the best.

  7. Have fun! We are not paying you. So you better have some fun!

  8. Be Safe! (so that makes staying safe both job #1 and job #8)

After working

Rather than just going home and getting on with your regular day, we have another request: Share your work and what helping others means to you. (And what it means to those that you helped!)

There is no right or wrong way to do this. Generally after our workdays we take a page out of HODR's playbook (we got our start working with them in Biloxi after Katrina and still believe that 3-4 month period was the best run volunteer experience to date) and have an "all Hands meeting" where every team tells what they did that day. Why? It is not to brag but rather to help other volunteers see how much got done. If this part is missing, many volunteers fail to see the "big picture" and think that all that got done was the part that they themselves played.

But this reflection period is more than that. It is also a time to listen to the stories, to learn, to grow, and to make new friends. Many times, but especially after disasters, these reflection discussions can be moving and lead many to tears. They need not be serious. Indeed, much more often they are full of hilarious stories of mess-ups, mistakes, and mayhem. But they are still a good and important part of the day and a good way to make friends as well!

So we encourage you to get together with other volunteers for a meal or at least a few words to recount the day and to take in the day's good feeling.

But that is not all. There are people working for others everywhere. And they too want to now what went on at your jobs site. So we are asking everyone to share their day with others as well. How can you do this when the other volunteers are spread around all corners of the earth? With technology of course!

There are at least three ways to you can share your day:

1. Audio: VoiceQuilt: (This is really cool pay attention :) ) It works like this: You call in, and leave a message. Pretty simple right? But how cool is this? The message will be available for others to listen to AND will serve as the basis for the soundtrack for the video we hope to put together capturing the day.

  • Call 1-877-OurQuilt (1-877-687-7845). Overseas callers see for instructions

  • When asked for your invitation number, enter 92266.

  • Record your message, just as if talking to an answering machine.

2. Digital Pictures and Videos: Pictures and videos are great! Please take many pictures! (in my day job I teach finance and as anyone who has ever been on a trip with me knows, the variable cost of a picture is ALMOST zero. Which means take many pictures! "Before shots", work shots, group shots, shots of whom you are helping, "after shots", well you get the idea. We want lots of pictures. (and short videos too. Flickr allows you to upload videos of up to 90 seconds. If you make one longer than that, let us know and we will use YouTube.)

Once you take the pictures, you have to share them with us (and others!) here is how:

The best way is to upload pictures of your day (with names and descriptions please!) to the Flickr account we have set up for the day:

Account: Bona_Responds Password: Email for password

If that does not work, you can also email the pictures to us at

Of course you can also upload your pictures to your own accounts to (facebook etc) but many people (especially outside the US) are not on those accounts and definitely are not friends with everyone who worked at other sites, so PLEASE upload to flickr as well.

3. Written reflections: We'd love reflection emails (as attachments or in an email) as well. Whether it is a few sentences or several pages, write up what service means. Or what it is like to be helped. Or why you like volunteering. Or how volunteering changed your life. Or anything else about volunteering in general or the day in particular.

Need some ideas? here are some past reflection essays members of BonaResponds have written.

Email them to us at BonaResponds (at)

Remember all pictures, audio, video, and reflections will be available for others to see and we may use them in our video, so your uploading or sending them is our permission to use :)

Why the emphasis on sharing after the work is done?

Saturday is about more than just a day of good deeds. We will make the world a better place. But there will still be so so so much more work to be done. In a world where bad news makes the news, we all need encouragement from time to time. To realize that we can make a difference.

The videos, pictures, essays, and VoiceQuilt are to help serve that role. To remind everyone who participated that good things do happen. That by coming together and doing a little, a great deal gets done. It is a message that needs to get out. It is a message that needs you to happen.

From Jim's Messy Desk

I hope you are at least half as excited about this day as I am!

I am often reminded of the story of how a Butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can lead to major storms half way around the world. This day is like that. We don't know how the day will play out. We don't know the end result of the good deeds. Oh sure, in some instances we may thing we know. We see a cleaned school or a painted wall and say that was what was accomplished, but I challenge you to realize that is not all that was done.

Indeed, we do not know where the work may lead. We probably will never know. But it is possible to speculate:

To the volunteers:

  • some may discover skills they never knew they possessed.

  • some may find a new calling.

  • some may find a much needed friend.

  • some may find maturity.

  • some may find a fountain of youth.

  • some may find themselves.

And while I have no doubt that it will be a wonderful day for the volunteers, the real reason for the day is to help others. So if you allow me a second, please speculate with me to what the day will mean to those helped. And as we do this, please stop and mentally put yourself in their place for second:

  • Who can possibly know the feeling of the earthquake survivor who after more than two months, gets a tent, or sees his family vaccinated.

  • Consider the former Marine living in a garage for over 2 years. Getting help, any help, may just give him faith that that world still cares.

  • And don't forget the elderly neighbor with no family and no means of getting around. Getting to the store may be impossible without the volunteer's help.

  • Or what about the disabled child who for his/her entire life will fondly remember the day when he/she got to ride a horse.

  • Or the child who can afford school because the school was painted by volunteers.

Of course all jobs may not lend themselves to such easy speculation, but trust me they all matter. Who knows, that clean park may keep families coming back, may keep drug dealers out. We just don't know.

We do know that the world would be much poorer without the services of many thousands of people who give their time and efforts every day. Saturday will just be one more day for many of them. But by working along side them, we honor them while helping them to make a difference. So to those of you working in Haiti, to those working in Africa, to those working in the poor parts of developed cities, or in the rural parts of lesser developed nations, thank you.

In closing, I encourage you all to get involved. To go and help. No matter how small, no matter how big. Together we can make the world a better place. Maybe not a perfect place, but a better place...... jim

PS #1 We hope to make this an annual event. Tentatively next year it will be March 26, 2011.

PS #2: We have about 700 people on our mailing list. It is estimated that there are 1.5 Billion email users. So please forward this. The odds that they already got it are really really really small! (.00000046 if you are keeping score at home).

You can do this. Whoever you are and where ever you are. If you are very religious, or agnostic, if you are 5 years old or 95 years old. If you live in a big city or a small town. In whatever country you are in. Go and help someone. Together we can (and will) make this world a better place.

Haiti service trip changes perception - Features

Haiti service trip changes perception - Features:
"'Few had homes,' Penepent said. 'We built a home while we were down there. There is so much rubble and stuff you have to clear that stuff before you can even start building. That's the biggest problem. So they are basically just sleeping in tents.'

In addition to their rebuilding work, the group spent a lot of time with the Haitian children, organizing games and activities.

'We were influential in setting up a Saturday fun day,' Penepent said. 'We suggested that they have activities with the kids like one day a week. They had a big soccer game.'"

and later:

"Even though the group went on their own, not in affiliation with St. Bonaventure or BonaResponds, the Bonaventure school spirit was in the air.

"We started the Bona's clap with the Haiti kids," Ryer said. "They didn't quite get the rhythm, though.""

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Still need volunteers for this Saturday!

Message sent to the SBU Notice-Board

Be part of the First Ever BonaResponds International Service Day!

This Saturday. Help others! Then share what you did with others. It is going to be a great day! We have jobs and volunteers working in about 30 cities around the globe.

But we still need local volunteers!

We need about 25 people in Olean (have only 4 signed up so far) we need as many as possible for many jobs in Buffalo. There are over 70 signed up from Villa Maria plus others from Buffalo but only 9 from SBU. In fact sign-ups were going so slowly that we canceled the bus for Saturday (we have 2 vans plus cars). If we don't get more volunteers soon, the next thing we will have to do is to call work sites and tell them we have no volunteers. That would be very bad, so please sign up here:

for more info on the day see
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Recovering in Haiti: A Photographic Testimonial

Recovering in Haiti: A Photographic Testimonial:
"Prior to January’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake, most Haitians were used to struggling to survive. Now they are brushing the dust off and getting to work to find water, food, and shelter for their families ahead of the looming rainy season. Haiti must stay on the radar and Guerra will continue returning to document the rebuilding process, helping ensure that Haitian faces are seen and their voices heard."

Slide show is here.

HT to HaitiLiveFeeds.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 | Bonaresponds... | Bonaresponds...:
"I went to Olean today with the expectation of dropping off the crutches I collected and helping to pack up whatever else Bonaresponds had collected as part of their Haiti releif effort. I had no idea, the absolutely amazing results that I would fortunate enough to take part in. We began the morning by picking up crutches at some of the local drop off points in Allegany and setting up the packing area at the Park & Shop in Olean.

We moved on to pick up supplies from the Corner Stone Church Medical Supply Loan in Portville and all I can say is WOW!!! We showed up with the expectation of a few walkers and several sets up crutches, but Pastor John really amazed us with his generosity. Not only did they donate around 30 or 40 pairs of crutches, but also 20-25 walkers, at least 30 canes, and probably 25 or 30 stick type crutches. All told, Bonaresponds ended up packing 281 pairs of various crutches, 105 canes, 109 walkers, 14 tents, 7 sleeping pads, 4 kneebraces, 2 wheel chairs, and 7 boxes of medical supplies..."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Portlight Strategies, Inc Home

Portlight Strategies, Inc Home:
"We've come to the point in the relief operations for Haiti where temporary fixes and stop gap measures are more and more inappropriate; to truly provide relief moving forward we have to look to permanent measures to effect any real change. The rainy season and then hurricane season are coming; we all know Haiti's history with tropical storms and hurricanes: these events are disastrous and deadly. With this in mind, tents are no longer a reasonable measure for providing shelter; the people of Haiti are going to need real shelter and soon."

Creativity time....How can we help them? I want ideas please!

Customs stalling aid efforts in Haiti - Haiti -

Customs stalling aid efforts in Haiti - Haiti -
"``These are vehicles Haiti has never seen the likes of, and it's unconscionable that this is happening,'' said Granted Wish chairman Rodney Napier, a part-time Miami Beach resident. ``We believe they are expecting us to slip them money to make this go away.''"

At the heart of the issue is that the goods were being shipped to a person, not an NGO.

"The Haitian government insists the organization has to pay customs taxes because the shipment arrived in the name of a private individual, not a certified aid group. Granted Wish says they initially sent the delivery in the name Double Harvest, a certified non-profit organization registered by the Haitian government, but was told by Customs that things would go more smoothly if the shipment were in the name of a Haitian citizen.

``I obey and apply the law; I do not interpret it,'' said Eric Charles, director of port customs. ``If the vehicles were in the names of U.S. AID, Food for the Poor, or some other group, they would be out in five minutes." I am not the Ministry of Finance. I am not the president. We have no provisions in the customs tariffs to give him an exception.''

Read more:

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Weather and Climate - Haiti

Weather and Climate - Haiti:
"Haiti's Climate: The best time to go is November-March, when day temperatures are in the 70s-80s F/23-32 C and nights are in the 60s-70s F/15-27 C. The rainy season is May-July, but even when it rains, it usually lasts for only an hour or two in the evening. Hurricane season is July-October. The hill country is always about 10 degrees F/5 C cooler."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Haiti Quake Worsens Plight of Mentally Ill -

Haiti Quake Worsens Plight of Mentally Ill -
: "As disasters often do in poor countries, Haiti’s earthquake has exposed the extreme inadequacies of its mental health services just at the moment when they are most needed. Appalled by the Mars and Kline Psychiatric Center, the country’s only hospital for acute mental illness, foreign psychiatrists here have vowed to help the Haitian government create a mental health care system that is more than just an underfinanced institution in the capital city."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Miriam Jones concert to benefit Haiti

Miriam Jones concert to benefit Haiti: "Fresh, soulful, touching, fun, and beautiful is how several critics describe the music of international singer/songwriter and recording artist Miriam Jones.

The Olean/Allegany community will have a chance to hear this soulful singer as she performs a benefit concert at the St. Bonaventure University Chapel on Friday, March 26, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m."

From SBU/BonaResponds press release

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hip-Hop for Haiti/HODR!

The St. Bonaventure Hip Hop Team and BSU will be hosting a concert for the victims of Haiti in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. Both groups will showcase their material and there will be special guest performances by ASIA and Bonacoustics.

Student ticket prices will be $3, general ticket prices will be $5. All proceeds will be going to the Hands On Organization and the efforts that continue in Haiti. Matt Lundgren will be working with HODR over the summer.

(Matt was on our "big Trip" in March 2006.)

Hands On Disaster Response

CONGRATS HODR! Keep up the good work!

Hands On Disaster Response:
"It’s been 30 days of Project Leogane, and we’re off to a running start! .

Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been working on and how we’ve ramped up"

In one month, we’ve cleared over 30 slabs! Land is extremely limited in the urban/semi-urban areas most affected by the earthquake, so each home that we clear is a chance at a fresh beginning, a jumpstart to the rebuilding process. Our volunteers have thrown themselves into the work, sledge hammering concrete roofs and columns, hack sawing twisted rebar, and pushing loaded wheelbarrows. Also emerging from the rubble are the stories of each family who lived there; they’ve worked alongside us to clean up, salvage what they can, and begin rebuilding.

Special thanks to the kids of Leogane who work cheerfully and energetically with our teams each day!

BonaResponds Buffalo and Olean March 27th

A special signup for those volunteering in either Olean or Buffalo on March 27th. (if you want to volunteer elsewhere on those days see here.

YouTube - HODR Project Leogane - Month 1

YouTube - HODR Project Leogane - Month 1: "HODR is working in Leogane, Haiti on a volunteer earthquake response project to help survivors of the 12 January 2010 earthquake. Here is a look at our first month of work."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Companies Hope To Solve Haiti Housing Crisis | Triad, NC | Local and State News

Piedmont Companies Hope To Solve Haiti Housing Crisis | Triad, NC | Local and State News:
"Peace Builders and Triad Corrugated Metal partnered to design and build a 40-ft by 21-ft metal building that can house four separate Haitian families of up to six members each. Both companies are based in Asheboro."

Several videos as well showing what they would be like.

Monday, March 15, 2010

US Warns of Haiti Murder, Kidnap Threat | MyAyiti.Com

US Warns of Haiti Murder, Kidnap Threat | MyAyiti.Com:
"“Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender, or age. Some kidnap victims have been killed, shot, sexually assaulted, or physically abused.”....
The abduction of the two Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) workers was the first kidnapping of foreign aid staff since the quake, which killed more than 220,000 people and left 1.3 million people homeless."

BonaResponds Newsletter

The most recent BonaResponds Newsletter went out this AM.

Its main two topics are Haiti and our International Service Day that is rapidy coming up! March 27th.
A fast look in::

"You will find the International Service Day to be REALLY cool. The basic idea is to help people. The jobs can be as large as 150 people getting together to clean parks, tear down old houses, or build a school. On the other hand your event can be as small (in size, not importance) as helping an elderly or handicapped neighbor to the store.

All we want people to do is to help each other.

The day is based on the simple belief that every person can make a positive difference in the world. Moreover when we take a second to see how much gets done we will find that little things really do add up.

We currently have about 50 sites (that we know of, and I hope many more that have just not signed up). It is our first year doing this and expect it to grow. And we are very very used to late sign-ups so it is not too late! Get involved.

The whole newsletter is available online here.

What's wrong with this picture? - The Haitian

What's wrong with this picture? - The Haitian:
"Unable to find work, Laforet said it frustrates her to hear about aid agencies doling out food and jobs in the capital.

``No one has done anything for us here,'' she said, standing outside a pink, one-room shack on the outskirts of town. ``Everything is happening in Port-au-Prince.''

Some call Haiti ``the Republic of Port-au-Prince'' because no other city seems to matter, said Jean-Robert Lafortune, the president of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, a Miami-based organization that has been advocating for greater decentralization. ``There has been an unbalanced development of Haiti, and that has an impact in terms of commerce and industrialization in other parts of the country,'' he said."

From a worker at an Haitian Orphanage

Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shownImage via Wikipedia

From time to time we get a request that just staggers our ability to understand. This is just such a request. The other day we were asked for food for an orphanage.

She explained that the food supplies were becoming more difficult and protein especially was in short supply.

We asked for more details. Kim (who is working there) sent the following:

"We are looking for a way to get a steady inflow of food, but anything will help. They are also in the process of building more rooms and will need bunk beds, mattresses, and bedding.

Basically there is a man named Reginald who is the president of a non profit Haitian organization called GRODYSH. They were managing 4 orphanages in Haiti. When the earthquake happened, all the orphanages crumbled. Some of the children died and the rest were in the streets. Reggie and his workers have been investigating the area and finding their children to bring them to his house. He is currently using his house and his land to house the children and keep them in a safe location and off the streets.

They have found 116 of their children. He is planning to donate his house and turn it into an official orphanage. The house is too small to house all the children, but they have tents in his yard. He currently has builders and is working on building more rooms and a bigger kitchen and bathroom area for the children. He has set up an Applied Scholastics program at his house so the kids are now going to school. The ages range from 2-16."
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Crutches drive press release

The FoodForHaitiNow
Crutches Drive

On Saturday March 13, 2010 Sixteen BonaResponds volunteers got together in the back room of the Park and Shop grocery store on Front Street in Olean to pack over 10 pallets full of supplies for the survivors of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

The day was the result of over a month of collecting supplies and even making crutches.

"It was a tremendous success" said FoodForHaitiNow (and BonaResponds) leader Jim Mahar. "We had planned on four or five pallets" but the tremendous generosity of the area really shone through. When it was all said and done we had ten pallets plus about four other boxes that will be shipped separately.

The day's shipment totaled 281 pairs of crutches, 109 walkers, 14 tents, 7 sleeping pads, 4 knee braces, and 7 boxes of Medical Supplies. These were collected by BonaResponds, Christian Youth Corp, Villa Maria, Cuba-Rushford Elementary, Ellicotville Boces, Daeman College, JustRespond, and the Cornerstone Church.

"We have all come together to make a positive impact" said Christian Youth Corps leader Pete Andrews who also stressed that the group will still be collecting crutches. "We will have another shipment coming up near the end of the month. We can take crutches, wheelchairs, and tents. That is another item they really need." is a group of organizations led by BonaResponds that have come together to help in the aftermath of the devastating January earthquake. "It started as BonaResponds and VillaVolunteers (a volunteer group from Villa Maria in Buffalo), but it is open to
everyone. The situation there is much worse than any one group can solve. They need all the help they can get. We want to eventually feed over over 200,000 people, but in the meantime, we will be doing much to help Haiti. Today's shipments are just another step. We did the bootdrive earlier, had a car wash, some fund raisers in Buffalo, and many other things already. But we are just getting started!" explained Emily Deragon a BonaResponds student leader.

This is the first of many events that the group has planned to assist the recovery in Haiti. In two weeks they will be hosting a concert by Miriam Jones an English singer on a US tour. She is playing to raise money to help in Haiti at 7:30 on March 26th at St. Bonaventure. Alsoon April 10th there will be a 5k in Buffalo's Delaware Park that is being organized by Carrie Jackling a former BonaResponds student leader.

"There will likely be something happening every weekend from now through the end of the semester. We hope to have another car wash, a sleep out, bracelet sales, t-shirt sales, and other things" said Phil Penepent, another BonaResponds student leader who helped in Haiti on a non Bonaventure approved trip over spring break. "Having been to Haiti over spring break with HODR (Hands On Disaster Response), I have seen first hand the need there and anything we can do to help is extremely worthwhile."

Mahar concluded: "Our approach on every BonaResponds event is that everyone has something to contribute. Today was the perfect example of this. Abbott Welding let us use their truck, the Olean Wholesale gave us plastic shrink wrap, Park and Shop allowed us to use their backroom and shipping containers, and of course all of the many people who collected and donated. Everyone was important in this. Without any of them and this does not get done. I can not thank everyone enough. Haiti can not thank them all enough."

If you or your group would like to get involved see or

Open letter to Buffalo

I sent the following to past Buffalo volunteers....but it applies to all, so:

I wanted to inform you of a few upcoming BonaResponds events in the Buffalo area. I am sure many of you (most?) are on our mailing list, but I realize the newsletter is often too long and gets ignored. So a "special edition" for those in the Buffalo area.

We are having two events in the upcoming month that we wanted you to know about:

1. On March 27th we will be having a large event out of Villa Maria where volunteers break up and go to various sites. It is our third annual one and it has always been very successful with about 100-120 volunteers (Like all of our events, it is open to all. Also this year it is part of our first ever International Service Day where work will be going on in about 10 countries and 30+ sites in the US. Pretty excited about it actually!

Kim and her crew of VillaVolunteers do a GREAT job and her job list this year looks amazingly good. So I hope you can come out for it! A great deal of very good work will get done and you will have fun doing it!

We will be selling t-shirts on an advance order basis ($5 each) so if you want one, please let me know size and QTY). Also we we have bracelets ($3 that feed 15 Haitians each), and raffle tickets to win Sabres Tickets at the event.

While you can just show up and work, signing up in advance makes life MUCH easier!

2. On April 10th in Delaware Park, we will be having a 5k for Haiti as part of our push to feed 200,000 Haitians. Carrie Jackling is organizing this and it promises to be a big event to help. As a new race, we are worried about turnout. So please help spread the word. The more people we get out for it, the more we can do to help in Haiti! Even if you do not run, consider coming and volunteering or walking it. For more on this organization (basically us and a bunch of other groups from around WNY) see:

for the specifics on the race see:

I have also attached a sponsor's page in the event you know any business from Buffalo who might like to sponsor it or even if you have always wanted to see your name on a t-shirt! If you do, please email Carrie.

A full calendar of other BonaResponds events is available at
April 23-25 Spring Service Weekend (in Olean)
May 7-8 Allegany State Park work days with CYC.

Thanks for any and all help you can give. Seriously a forward of this email alone would be great! If you are looking for other ways to get involved, please see the website or just come out to volunteer! Or better start a fundraiser at your your school, your workplace, or with your family, you name it, involved. Haiti needs all of our help! Every dollar pays for 6 meals!

Hope to see you are either (or both!) of the events.



Jim Mahar

If and when I go to far with emails, I apologize, but the push on this one is very well intentioned. In the past two days (Friday and Saturday) I have been in contact with a tent village worker in Port-au-Prince and a leader of an orphanage just N of Port-au-Prince. In each case they got in touch with us and specifically asked us for assistance in what can largely be seen as life or death issues. Without your help, I must tell them to either go hungry (in the case of the orphanage) or to just wait for crutches/walkers/and tents from someone else (in the case of the tent village). So while I apologize for the email, I trust you would also send one if you knew that the impact of the events is so great! (for perspective, yesterday 16 of our volunteers packed 10 pallets for Haiti with 281 pairs of crutches, over 100 walkers, about 100 canes, 14 tents, and 7 boxes of medical supplies. Little things add up. You can and will make a difference. Thank you!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Money hunt turns aid agencies into rivals in shaken Haiti | McClatchy

Money hunt turns aid agencies into rivals in shaken Haiti | McClatchy:

"``If I could find a tent that would be great,'' she said."

A sad report on how NGOs are having difficulties in cooperating, in getting help where it is needed, and solving the usual bureaucratic problems that seem to accompany most NGOs.

Haiti: Remembering People with Disabilities

- Haiti: Remembering People with Disabilities
"The Women's Refugee Commission is working with relief agencies in Haiti advocating for the needs of people with disabilities."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Hands On Disaster Response

Hands On Disaster Response:
"With an amazing outpouring of support and volunteer interest, we are scheduled at capacity at Project Leogane for the next several months. We’re no longer able to take new volunteer inquiries or Volunteer Information Forms, as we won’t be able to accommodate any more volunteers at this time."

Why focus on the funny when so much suffering

Well written piece that likely gets to the heart of why the radio show last night went downhill so quickly as well.

Philip Kiracofe -Adventure Capitalist:
"I suppose my hope in writing these daily recaps was to reassure some people of my safety and wellbeing; as well as shed some light on the work that HODR is doing and provide a bit of humor along the way--I think the editor in me thought that lightening the gravity of this relief work with humor would make the reality palatable—for me and for those I am sharing this experience with.--Mostly, the conditions here are so awful that recounting the details, apart from the “serious” paragraphs in my emails, is taxing because I (and others) choose to get up the next day to face it all over again.--And that is a difficult task.--I also fear appearing too much like one of those “Children International” people on the street who shove pictures of starving children in your face…"

Today's notice Board announcement

While we will be doing other events also, we have had enough requests to list some of the upcoming events that here is a partial list:

This Saturday: Haiti Packing Day. We will be wrapping (plastic) about 200 pairs of crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, medical supplies, and tents. Meet 10:30 at Murphy (if late go to storage in the UPS building)

March 26th: Miriam Jones Concert as a fundraiser for Haiti and a kick-off for International Service Day. Many more details to come, but here is her music:
(she is doing a US tour from NYC to San Antonio and has agreed to play here as a fund raiser for!)

March 27th: International Service Day
(we now have about 10 countries and 30+ cities in the US! Plan in being part of it!) (sign up)

April 10th Haiti Relief 5k run and 1 mile walk

April 23-24-25 Local Service Weekend (Many many sites around the local area)

May 7th-May 8th (Allegany State Park work days--will have a limited number of cabins to stay the night). With
CYC. Help the park survive given recent budget cuts. Much work.

For information on all of this, see (and follow us on twitter---things get announced there first!)

This week, if you have any tents (or want to buy them!), crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs, please to arrange a pickup.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Why we need to collect walkers

Need we say more? Donate.

From Howard Koepka.

Aid for Haiti: canes, crutches, walkers - - March 7, 2010

Aid for Haiti: canes, crutches, walkers - - March 7, 2010:
"Lemieux said he hopes people in the U.S. continue to offer donations to those affected by the disaster. In talking with friends in Haiti, they told him supplies are trickling into the outlying areas, including Gros Morne, which is now home to a swell of refugees. He knows times are tough for people here, but he said anything, whether it’s crutches or money, will make a difference. “Every little bit helps,” he added."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kawika's Uganda trip blog

Ok, so it is not BonaResponds and Not Haiti....But Embrace it Africa goes to Uganda AND it is the Buffalo Bills. So it gets included ;)

Kawika's Uganda trip blog:
"For the next week Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell is teaming up with New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in a charity effort to help villages in Kiwanuka’s native Uganda. Mitchell will be providing updates on his encounters and experiences during his week in Africa right here on He shares his thoughts on the upcoming trip that begins in Uganda Monday."

Run a 5K to Help 200K!

In Buffalo's Delaware Park on April 10

(we will also need volunteers for this, so even if you can not run, come on out!)

Money goes to FoodForHaitiNow (via BonaResponds) and HODR.

2010 Haiti Relief 5k Application

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Picasa Web Albums - David - U Miami/Medishare photos

Picasa Web Albums - David - U Miami/Medishare photos Lots of pictures from David Driscoll...some of you may remember him as the first HODR volunteer we ever met. He picked up the first crew from the Biloxi Airport and has been a friend ever since!

DIY efforts bring aid to Haiti - Haiti earthquake-

DIY efforts bring aid to Haiti - Haiti earthquake-
"Haiti has two relief campaigns under way: a massive, lumbering international operation comprising U.N. agencies, foreign military and hundreds of private aid organizations; and the collective efforts of individuals acting on their own in frustration at what they see as shortcomings in the international response."
and later:

"Shaun King, lead pastor of The Courageous Church in Atlanta, set up a Web site for people to donate money and tents priced from $55 to $800. Working with 200 volunteers, Haitian orphanages and a makeshift camp in Port-au-Prince, King has collected 1,505 tents to shelter 7,525 people and $24,185.

"We pledge that 100 percent of the funds we raise will go directly (and only) to tents," the Web site promises, a swipe at the overhead costs at big humanitarian organizations."

Let mer start by saying there is clearly a need for BIG and SMALL relief efforts in this (and virtually every other disaster). That said, I am continually amazed and saddened that the big organizations do not see how slow their response is and how the holes their organizations leave MUST be filled. I wish I could say more, but will only end with the personal opinion that "Motivation trumps bureaucracy ALMOST every time."

YouTube - Local Relief Workers Return From Haiti

- Local Relief Workers Return From Haiti
"Aid workers from Matthew 25 Ministries have returned from a 10-day trip to help Haiti recover from an earthquake."

Sorry, I cannot embed it. They have it turned off. Click through.

Some of the Best (most important) Haiti tweets I saw today.

Some of the Best (most important) Haiti tweets I saw today.

Sanitation innovations in #Haiti -@CatholicRelief experts create footpump prototype w/ local materials

It rained hard in PAP last night for over 2 hrs and there were some very strong winds.

Talk about bad luck
10:14am, Mar 04 from TweetDeck Resettled #Haitian family in Chile rocked by second quake in two months

MSF_USA 9:54am, Mar 04 from TweetDeck This is the Clerge family, struggling to survive in Haiti after the EQ. Story:

CRSnews 12:05pm, Mar 04 from HootSuite Update from @CatholicRelief on conditions in #Haiti's Petionville camp: video chat w/ CBC (skip to minute 42:00)

11:41pm, Mar 04 from Web #Haiti: Haitians Still Await Tents/Toilets as Rains Approach:

HaitiLiveFeeds 12:34am, Mar 04 from TweetDeck Haiti port capacity boosted, repairs advancing:

USAforHaiti 11:11pm, Mar 03 from Web It should be the responsibility of every NGO / Aid org there to ensure a brighter future for#Haiti than they had before the quake. IMHO

USAforHaiti 11:11pm, Mar 03 from Web It should be the responsibility of every NGO / Aid org there to ensure a brighter future for#Haiti than they had before the quake. IMHO

CrisisMappers 12:18am, Mar 05 from Web Relief 2.0. There are not tent cities in #Haiti. There are sheet cities with more than 100,000 people. @DocGurley @relief20#rlf2haiti

howardjkoepka 9:19pm, Mar 04 from Echofon In case u didn't see it this AM- no matter how tired I am here in #Haiti this keeps me going... Meet Sara!

lightxxx 8:56pm, Mar 04 from Web am sitting in the sewage in the slums of citi solei haiti and i wouldn't want to be any where else in the entire world. #haiti

12:41am, Mar 05 from twitterfeed Dept. of Unintended Consequences, HaitiEdition - Freakonomics ...: But only a tiny fraction of that money is bei...

12:59am, Mar 05 from TweetDeck Inside the displaced persons camps in Port-au-Prince:
(My favorite (ok least favorite!) line in this is how the children (many of who have not been given food) have been counted so many times that they "play census".)