The Margaret Friar Haiti Children's Fund was started by Tim and Summer Gerke in January of 2012. After making several trips to Haiti in 2011 and 2012 to provide medical care to the poor at Haiti Adventist Hospital, they quickly developed a bond with many orphans around Port-au-Prince. On each subsequent trip to Haiti, they began to provide food, clothes and beds to these needy children. Friends and family quickly joined the effort to provide different needs for them. Many individuals donated toothbrushes, shoes and bought beds. More still had a desire to help. Out of this connection to these children and the desire of many to assist them, fhe Margaret Friar Haiti Children's Fund was created.
These amazing children make the most of their meager belongings. Of the estimated 400,000 orphans in Haiti, many do not have access to life’s basic needs such as food, clean water, reliable shelter, clean clothes, beds and mattresses and functioning toilets. Many children share beds due to a lack of adequate space. Mattresses are scarce, many children only have a few layers of cardboard to sleep on. Others still lack shoes or a change of clothes. However what they lack in material possessions they make up in kind hearts and loving spirits. Little Natasha, pictured here, is an amazing six year-old with a smile that melts hearts and brings hope to many.
Initially the Margaret Friar Haiti Children's Fund will work directly with four orphanages and the 120 children they care for. Our project will take a hierarchical approach by first making sure all the children in these three orphanages have food and water. Once this is provided we will make sure they have clothes, shoes, soap and toothbrushes. After these needs are provided we will move on to purchasing beds, ensuring proper education and building physical structures. Our vision is to support a group of children and make sure each of their basic needs are met, starting with the most important and basic needs being provided first on a regular basis then moving on to the next basic need and so on. Our goal is to do our best to ensure these 100 kids have the best life possible. As interest and funds allow we hope to expand our reach around Port-au-Prince to include more children at more orphanages. If you feel led to help please visit the donations page to learn how you can make a difference today.
Margaret Friar was a gentle soul who graced many lives in small, but meaningful ways. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI she was the protected youngest daughter of an Irish-American family. Margaret had some developmental disabilities that were never quite discussed. Loyal to the family, the Church and the community, she thrived on routines and lived a modest life. Although Margaret never had any children of her own, she was blessed with 19 nieces and nephews and scores of grandnieces and grandnephews whom she loved deeply. She sent birthday and holiday cards to everyone in her life, and could recall every family member’s special dates from memory at the sound of their name.
Margaret is a reminder to us all that honoring the dignity of each person matters. She taught us that while some are meant to accomplish things on a grand scale, it is often the daily reminders, the remembering, the thoughtfulness and caring of others that is most important. Margaret passed away on February 9, 2012 at the age of 74. The Margaret Friar Haiti Children’s Fund was established and named in her honor. May she rest in peace and enjoy the reunion with her mother Nathalie, father John and eldest brother John. She will be missed.