Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you are from, etc)
My Name Shiller M Erilus. I was born in Port-Au-Prince Haiti, at General Hospital. I moved to the U.S. from Haiti in 1986 at the age of 6 years old.
How long have you been contributing to Haiti relief efforts?
Since the catastrophic earthquake that killed over 250,000 people in Haiti in 2010, I decided then I will dedicate my life to work for and with the people in Haiti. I have made trips to Haiti 5 out of the last 6 years since the earthquake to provide some sort of relief effort and aid to my fellow Haitians.
Why is this so important to you?
At the age of 10, I joined a program called S.P.E.S (Supplementary Program for Educational Skills). To be frank, the program consisted of Caucasian Men who would drive from the suburbs of Boston to the inner city every Saturday to provide mentorship, to tutor, as well as provide various athletic sports opportunities to help us better our lives. It puzzled and confused most of us in the program because they risked their lives to help us and it showed me just how important it is to give back regardless of your background.
After the earthquake destroyed most of the infrastructure in Haiti, I knew many people there were in need of the basic necessities we use in our daily lives. All though I left Haiti at a very young age, I remember the struggles my family endured there, and now many will have to live through the same struggle after such a devastating occurrence.
I am Haitian, I am one of them, we're are the same, and I could of easily been residing in Haiti during the earthquake. My family are still in Haiti. I have friends who live in Haiti and has to deal with the destruction caused by the earthquake and now they have to deal with the aftermath from Hurricane Matthew. I've lost family members and friends in both situations. So if this isn't important to me, I feel I am incapable of being a compassionate human being.
How do you think your efforts differ than say a organization like the Red Cross?
First, I do not know the inner workings of the Red Cross, nor will I pretend to. However, I would like to take this time to thank the Red Cross and the many other organizations for their continued effort to help the people of Haiti. How I differ is that I am just an individual trying to help my fellow countrymen after going through a few major disasters recently. I have lived through and know the struggles Haitians go through, because of this, I am allowed and able to navigate through certain places and cities the Red Cross may not have access to.
How can people, including our sweat shoppe community, contribute towards your efforts in helping children in Haiti?
I want to thank everyone who have prayed, donated time and or money to any aid relief or cause that they are affiliated or have beliefs in. I am truly appreciative because there are some wonderful and giving human beings out there.
My relief efforts are geared towards the patients in the hospitals (specifically General Hospital in Haiti) and the many students who yearn for knowledge but do not have access to the essentials needed to learn. My goal is to provide 100 hospital patients / and 100 Haitian residents affected most by the storm and earthquake with toiletry bags or packages containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, mouthwash, deodorant, lotion, and Tylenol/Aspirin. Also, I want to provide 100 students with Backpacks stocked with notebooks, pens, and pencils.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
It is my belief that we sometimes take for granted how the smallest gestures can go a long way for some that are less fortunate. Many people believe if they do not donate what is considered a sufficient amount of money and time, then the effort is not worth providing. In life, a split second can make a difference between life and death, Just as an extra $1 may provide someone the opportunity and time to feed themselves to live another day.
I want to thank everyone, who have prayed, donated time and or money to any charity or cause. You are a hero. Because of your nice gesture and generosity, you are saving lives.