People & Places

Continued support of Haiti is aim of Saturday fundraiser in Cedar Rapids

Event begins at 5 p.m. in Cedar Rapids

(File Photo) In 2010, Guerda Thelisma lost 11 members of her family in the January 12th earthquake that devastated Haiti
(File Photo) In 2010, Guerda Thelisma lost 11 members of her family in the January 12th earthquake that devastated Haiti. Here, she takes an emotional visit to her neighborhood of Morne Lazard where her home was destroyed. (Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald/MCT)

CEDAR RAPIDS — An organization focused on helping Haiti recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake is honoring Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett in recognition of support from the city — and its businesses and service groups — during an event this weekend.

Community Health Initiative Haiti hosts its third benefit for the Caribbean island nation beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cedar Rapids Marriott, 1200 Collins Road NE, during which time Corbett is to be honored.

“Six years later, Cedar Rapids continues to impact lives in Haiti,” according to a news release from Community Health Initiative Haiti.

According to, 300,000 people died and another 2.3 million were left homeless without clean water or food after a 7.0 earthquake struck near Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Jan. 12, 2010.

Since 2012, Community Health Initiative Haiti officials have seen 20,000 patients, helped reduce mortality rates from diarrhea and other water born illnesses and restored the livelihood for thousands of Haitians, according to the organization. Local food vendors, transportation companies and logistics coordinators helped send hundreds of pounds of granola bars and other foods, medical supplies and health resources to Haiti to be distributed by volunteers, Cedar Rapids resident Marcia Rogers, who has been involved in the effort, said in the news release.

Doctors Chris Buresh, co-founder of Community Health Initiative Haiti, and Joshua White, Diamond V, General Mills, Hy-Vee, Quaker Oats, Ralston Foods, Kirkwood Community College and Worley Warehousing are also credited for their work.

“Our teams head to Haiti every three months to set up a mobile medical clinic in the mountains and foothills in the region of Arcahaie,” the initiative’s executive director, Annie Vander Werff, said in the news release. “It all started locally. We couldn’t do it without the time, talents, and support from our community leaders right here in the Corridor.”


The event is open to the public and tickets are $50 each, which includes dinner and a drink ticket. About half the price goes back to the organization. People can find more information and donate to the cause at

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