Over the past week, Bowdoin students have helped raise hundreds of dollars for disaster relief in Haiti. Fundraising efforts are continuing for the Caribbean island nation, which was struck by Hurricane Matthew on October 4.

“We’ve been really surprised in how much we’ve been able to raise,” said Reyada Atanasio ’17, who is one of the students leading the fundraising campaign. 

Students raised funds by selling breakfast goods including donuts and coffee outside of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library last Wednesday. They also sold baked goods after a talk last Thursday on healthcare in Haiti by Dan Fitzgerald, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

“Even if [people] weren’t interested in buying donuts or coffee or anything, they still donated, and those extra donations really helped our effort,” Atanasio said.

The students involved plan on holding another bake sale outside of H-L and are considering the possibility of tabling in Smith Union.
Atanasio became involved with the fundraising efforts after encouragement from Associate Director of the McKeen Center Andrew Lardie.

“[Lardie] contacted me because I had previously been in one of [Assistant Professor of Anthropology] Gregory Beckett’s classes, and Beckett is very involved with Haiti,” Atanasio said.

Beckett helped the students decide to give the donations to an organization called the Lambi Fund, a grassroots organization in Haiti.

“Especially after the earthquake in 2010, a lot of humanitarian organizations and NGOs went into Haiti to help with the relief effort,” said Atanasio. “But the disconnection between their efforts, the government’s efforts and what the Haitian people actually needed has kind of resulted in a lack of success.”

Sophie Binenfeld ’17, who has also been involved in fundraising efforts, also took Beckett’s course on contemporary Haiti. She said that international aid was one of the topics discussed in class.

“This was a nice opportunity for us to give money to a reputable organization that we know is going to do good things for Haitians,” she said.

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) also launched its own fundraising drive. The group also plans to sell baked goods and launched a GoFundMe page to raise donations.