Earthquake Relief: Investing in Families

Above: A pedestrian walks over a crack that cuts across National Highway 7 in Camp-Perrin, Haiti.  Photo credit: Joshua Lott/Washington Post 

When a 7.2 earthquake struck Haiti’s southern peninsula earlier this month, you reached out. You asked questions like, “What can I do?”, “What do you need?” and “How can I help those impacted by this tragedy?”. Thank you. Thank you for loving the people of Haiti and responding so quickly and compassionately. Within 48 hours of the earthquake, we provided you with recommendations for organizations on the ground, at the front lines of rescue and relief. Organizations we trust who were actively working hard to provide immediate aid to those affected by this tragedy. You responded, and in turn, we have witnessed a much more coordinated and effective relief effort than we’ve seen during past events.

It’s Our Time to Act 

Heartline operates on a holistic approach that focuses on maternal healthcare, economic empowerment, children’s education, and community outreach. We employ 51 Haitian men and women who have families throughout Haiti, and unfortunately, many of their families have felt some impact due to the earthquake. As of this writing, 40% of our staff have family members in the southern peninsula with varying degrees of damage and loss, including loss of home and life. Fourteen of our fifty-one employees have family members who have completely lost their homes, and we’re aware of at least three who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

Additionally, due to multiple influences and the nature of aid in developing nations, many families cannot access the assistance they so desperately need. They may be isolated and out of reach from where aid groups are serving, or they may be cut off due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Grace which brought heavy rains and mudslides just days after the quake. Regardless of the cause, these families are heavy on our hearts, and they need our support. As the news cycle moves forward and ultimately the immediate relief organizations do also – it’s important to us that these families receive the assistance they so desperately need.

Reaching the Vulnerable

Our immediate response has been to get cash to Heartline employee’s families in the impacted area, and we’re continuing to do so as needed. This direct access to money helps them purchase the specific items they need for day-to-day survival. The intent of this form of aid is short-term to provide immediate relief in terms of material needs.

Next, Heartline Team members are loading supplies and preparing to head west into the isolated areas where aid may not have reached the quake victims. Specifically, we’re sending tarps, food, water, and hygiene supplies. While they check on families and distribute these items, they will assess housing and decide how to invest in impacted families through a second phase: housing support. 

Investing in Homes

When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti’s southern peninsula back in 2016, Heartline partnered with Maxima S.A to build homes for families who had lost theirs. Maxima’s ‘Tikay’ starter home is an affordable solution providing a secure, safe home and protection from the elements. The starter home of completely wood construction is also much safer for families during seismic events. In Haitian Creole, ‘tikay’ translates to ‘little home”. 

Once we’ve been able to assess the needs of Heartline employee families and those in remote areas, we’ll begin the process of working alongside Maxima to get families into homes where they belong. How many we can assist and how much impact we can have is partially dependent on you. We hope you’ll join us in investing in these families.


Of course, Heartline will continue operations in Port au Prince, focusing on maternal healthcare, economic empowerment, children’s education, and community outreach. After all, we’re in this for the long haul, and we know that healthy, thriving families prosper when we focus on our mission and what we do best.

Make a donation today and provide critical relief and assistance to rural mountainous communities, home to some of the most vulnerable earthquake survivors.

Cash Grants to Heartline Families – Heartline provided direct assistance to support the families of Heartline employees who lost homes and livelihoods. These cash grants funded home repair supplies, food, medicine, and other medical needs.

Food Aid – Heartline will provide emergency food aid for communities at risk of malnutrition and starvation due to the earthquake. The majority of food aid distributed consists of staple rice, beans, and oil. 

Emergency Supplies and Home Repairs – Temporary shelter and home reconstruction materials have been critical needs throughout the response. Heartline is funding the distribution of tarps for families whose roofs were destroyed and are living out in the open.

Home Construction with Maxima S.A. – Heartline and Maxima formed the “Maxima Housing Fund” partnership to rebuild homes using anti-seismic and hurricane resistant housing kits to help victims build back better. 

Transportation – Your donation helps offset the cost of fuel, and the Heartline staff as they reach out to the community and distribute aid. 

As the news cycle churns forward and new and equally worthy needs come across your news feed, we want you to know how grateful we are for your continued generous support and investment in families with Heartline. Tragedy and headlines can create fatigue and even hopelessness. We’re thankful you can see beyond the headlines and into the stories of families who are better, even thriving, as a result of your generosity.

Heartline friend, author, and non-profit leader, Craig Greenfield, recently shared about Heartline following the earthquake…

The best way to invest in the work of Heartline for the long haul is to become a monthly recurring donor to our general fund. Support the payroll, the supplies, the daily needs that make investing in families possible. We call it ‘Fanmi Ansanm’ from Haitian Creole. Translated, it means Family Together. Consider joining the Heartline family with a recurring gift of any amount.

Above: Roselaine Fortune poses outside her destroyed home on August 21. Photo credit: Joshua Lott/Washington Post 

Short-term, consider changing the outcome of a family affected by the earthquake on August 14th. Invest in relief supplies (earthquake relief) or help us put a family into a safe, secure starter home (Maxima housing). Start the process by clicking the button below. 

In terms of dollars and cents, here are some examples of what your gift can purchase for families in need.

  • $10/20 purchases a small or large tarp a family will use to provide shelter from rain and sun while they rebuild their homes. 
  • $17 funds 1/2 a food/hygiene package delivered to a family affected by the earthquake.
  • $33 funds a hygiene/food package delivered to a family affected by the earthquake.
  • $75 fuels the Heartline cantor (truck) delivering necessary food and hygiene supplies to families in the southern peninsula.
  • $3300 funds the construction of a “Tikay” home in partnership with Maxima S.A.

Thank you for bringing much needed relief to the families of Heartline employees on Haiti’s southern peninsula as well as families we’re yet to meet. We’re thankful that you stand with us in this critical work of investing in families. We’ll share more as we meet with families, determine housing needs and distribute hygiene/food packages to the impacted areas. 

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