Haiti: A Community Response

Photograph provided by The American Red Cross

I’ll admit it: I have been abnormally preoccupied with the snow. With the amount, the magnitude, the mercilessness of how it fell, everything. And don’t even get me started on the rumored seven inches, according to nj.com, due to arrive this evening into tomorrow (nothing compared to last week’s downfall, but still). Truly, I obsess over it (perhaps a result of my aforementioned cabin fever): I have broken two shovels in an attempt to unsuccessfully clear a decent path from my recycling bins to the street; I watch with trepidation as the weight of the heavy snow snaps the branches on my poor, tormented arborvitae; and I wonder when and if the snow pressing down on the weakened portion of our roof will finally give way and we will experience a winter wonderland in our very own living room.

But all of these little vexations are insignificant at best when compared to what I should have been contemplating with such verve: what I can do to continue to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. You may remember a while back when I wrote about Haiti and provided suggestions on how we all could focus our support at the onset of the disaster. As it stands one month later, organizations like The American Red Cross have reached hundreds of thousands with relief supplies, food, medical services, water, sanitation support, and shelter, but there still is so much that needs to be done, and the work is unforgiving, gruesome, and relentless. So it warms my heart that our community is gathering tomorrow at the Nassau Inn for a special event, “An Evening to Benefit Haiti Earthquake Relief.”

I am a little late in reporting the details of this benefit since it was supposed to happen last Wednesday—again, that snow—nevertheless, it bears repeating. On Tuesday, February 16, the Nassau Inn on Palmer Square will host an event to support Haiti earthquake relief, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The American Red Cross International Response Fund. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be beer, wine, and food—all generously donated by local restaurants and distributors—and live entertainment. There also will be a silent auction and raffle drawings featuring items provided by other “friends” of this amazing effort. Tickets are $25 per person (cash or check at the door). And don’t worry about parking because it will be free in all local garages (i.e., Hulfish, Chambers, and Spring Streets). Yes, you heard me right: free parking in Princeton. Huzzah!

Nassau Inn came up with the concept of a community response benefit after members of its family were—and still are, in some cases—waiting to hear news of their loved ones in Haiti. The reaction was positive, and immediate action was taken by local businesses such as The Terra Momo Restaurant Group and Jack Morrison of JM Group Princeton, and community groups including the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Princeton Merchants Association, and Hometown Princeton.

Hubert Dolphin, a Nassau Inn employee for 30 years, sums the event up best: “This is a great response to the Haitian disaster. Upon losing five family members and watching the news, I know this will have a very positive impact for the Haitian people. Any amount of help will be appreciated; anything will be better than it is now.”

Do you need a better reason? I know I don’t.

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of Princeton Scoop online and a freelance writer who has worked for several magazines, including Vanity Fair, Talk, W, and New Jersey Life. She lives in Princeton with her husband, daughter, and chocolate Labrador. She welcomes any inside scoop on what to do and see in the area. E-mail her at jennifer@princetonscoop.com.

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