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24/01/10 – Representative Maria Sachs on helping the Haitian population in Florida

By admin | January 24, 2010

“Bonjour”. Those were the words we kept hearing over and over again from the Haitian community as we entered a number of churches this warm Sunday morning in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Distance had become on obsolete word over the past 12 days. 753 miles may have separated those who were asked to reevaluate their faith and those who lifted their voices to God asking him to help the helpless. And today, as you looked into the eyes of the congregation, behind their smiles and welcoming gestures you still sensed the silence that can only be experienced through great loss. A loss that was not far away, but here in the hearts of those who wept for their people and their country.

Today’s sermons saw some new faces in the pews. Led by Representative Maria Sachs, a small group of community leaders like Ronald Hirschel, Bill Weg, and Sandra Devoe came to the churches to spread a simple message; it was to tell the Haitian community not to give up hope.

WCCCI is honored and privileged to have known Maria Sachs (www.mariasachs.com) for a number of years. As a close personal friend to Betty Williams, Maria has provided invaluable advice on a number of issues fueled by her passion to make a positive change in the lives of people on a local, national and international level.

An international lawyer and humanitarian, Maria has championed a number of noble causes, and today was no exception. Although West Palm Beach was not her elected district, the earthquake in Haiti moved her to act on behalf of all Haitians in Florida.

As she spoke to the congregation, Maria gave hope by telling everyone that she had secured the use of seats and cargo space on JetBlue flights from Fort Lauderdale to the Dominican Republic. Asking for professional help, Maria requested that doctors, nurses and engineers get in touch with her office so that they could use the seats on these flights. As for cargo space, the congregation could gather urgently needed supplies and send them to those affected by the earthquake.

Also, due to the emotionally stress, Haitians in Florida were allowed to fast-track their applications for US citizenship. Understanding that there is a small window of opportunity, Maria has enlisted the help of 3 lawyers who will help with applications and are at the disposal of Haitian community.

Other organizations helping to provide services to those who have been impacted by the recent tragedy include:

Catholic Charities
St. Thomas University Human Rights Institute
American Red Cross, Greater Palm Beach Area
Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
Lake Worth Resource Center

United Way of Palm Beach County
Food for the Poor

When it came time to leave each of our venues, we heard the following words over and over again “Merci beaucoup”.

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Please visit the website of Representative Maria Sachs for further information and check out some more photos in our Photo Gallery.

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