Toronto Catholics raise $3.7 million for Haiti

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  • March 12, 2010
{mosimage}TORONTO - At almost $3.7 million, Catholics in the archdiocese of Toronto collectively made one of the largest donations from a North American diocese for Haiti earthquake relief.

It is the largest donation from a Canadian Catholic diocese.

John Ecker, a member of the archdiocese of Toronto’s ShareLife advisory board, said there was an overwhelming response from school boards and parishes that raised $3,664,000 through ShareLife’s Haiti earthquake relief campaign within a month of the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed about 200,000 people, left millions of people homeless and devastated much of Haiti’s infrastructure.

ShareLife is the archdiocese’s charitable fundraising arm.

The final tally will total more than $7.3 million  after it is matched by the federal government. The government is matching individual donations for Canadian aid groups helping in Haitian relief and reconstruction efforts.

The funds raised by ShareLife were passed along to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace on March 4. Sylvia Skrepichuk, a member of Development and Peace’s national council for Central Ontario, said this represents an “investment to help Haitians for years to come.”

One of the aid group’s projects is a food security program to buy and distribute seeds for the agricultural season. It has also pledged support for religious communities that have suffered due to the destruction of their schools and orphanages.

Development and Peace has eight partners in Haiti, including Caritas Haiti, whose goal is to build temporary shelters and provide food, water and sanitation, health services and cash for work activities for at least 200,000 people.

Development and Peace says its reconstruction efforts over the next three to five years will include developing a framework similar to the 2004 Asian tsunami relief effort, such as agricultural support and food security, support to livelihoods and economic initiatives, physical reconstruction of housing and social infrastructures and advocacy work with civil society organizations to “make sure that Haitians have their say in this huge reconstruction effort for their country.”

Overall, Canadians have raised more than $100 million for the Haiti earthquake relief campaign.

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