By Ed Forry
A group of local Irish Americans are gathering up again this year to host an afternoon of Irish music, dance, and merriment in April to raise funds to help victims of last years earthquake in Haiti.
“Irish Hearts for Haiti” is chaired by Winnie Henry of Milton and Pat “Doc” Walsh of Dorchester, and they have gathered a committee to plan the day-long event, now set for the Quincy Marriott on Sun., April 3, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In an open letter seeking sponsors, the committee describes the mission:
“More than 12 months have passed since an earthquake devastated the country of Haiti. Living in an earthquake-ravaged country in the most impoverished country of the Western Hemisphere, Haitian children continue to bear unimaginable suffering and adversity. One year later, these children remain displaced and in need of housing, healthcare, and access to education.
“Continuing to support agencies that provide care to these children is the aim of the second annual benefit dance for Haiti, “Irish Hearts for Haiti.” The plight of many have been answered by the work of Friends of the Orphans and the Saint Rock Clinic; however, there is much more work to be done.
“The mission of the Friends of the Orphans is to care for orphaned, abandoned, and disabled children. Under the guidance of Father Rick Frechette, the national director and physician, Friends of the Orphans has expanded to meet the long-term demands of Haitian children. Through St. Damien’s Premier Pediatric Hospital, brand-new orphanages and schools, child protection camps, cholera medical clinics, and other outreach programs, more than a million have been helped.
“This year we have also included the Saint Rock Haiti Foundation, an organization that parishioners at St. Agatha’s in Milton have worked with for the past five years. The foundation provides healthcare, housing, and education to the children of the rural mountain village of St. Rick in Haiti. Through the decades-long work of its founder, Ralph Stowe of Hull, this organization has improved the lives of many children and continues to do with with volunteer support.
“At last year’s event over 700 people participated from all over the South Shore and greater Boston area. If your organization would like to provide sponsorship we would be ever grateful.
“Several bands will provide entertainment including Erin’s Melody, the Andy Healey band, Kevin Doherty, Noel Henry’s Irish showband and Brendan Bulger and friends. The event will also feature dancers from the Harney Academy of Irish step dancing and the Quinn Academy of Irish step dancing as well as a silent auction and raffle prizes. Please mark this date on your calendar and help us to help them by spreading the word to your family and friends.”
Last year, the first event raised more than $50,000, and it is hoped that goal will be exceeded this April. You can reach the committee by phone at 617-696-8585 and 617-298-8220; online at irishheartsforhaiti.com.