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Community rallies for Haitian employees

Created date

March 22nd, 2010

[caption id="attachment_8810" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Host of the Linden Ponds telethon Community Services Manager Joe McStowe (back right) speaks with phone volunteer Ruth Beyer, while others from the community take calls for donations."]Linden Ponds immediately mobilized around their own Haitian community members. As a result of a Linden Ponds telethon, the community s 44 Haitian employees received funds to support their families in Haiti and vacation time to visit them. The day after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc, Linden Ponds Community Services Manager Joseph McStowe had the idea to host a telethon in the community s television studio, LPTV6. We knew that our residents would want to do something to help, McStowe says. That they did, raising more than $18,000 in two hours and more than $7,000 in the following two weeks. Staff members and residents collaborated rapidly: Maureen Dewar from Community Resources, Valerie Munstis in Resident Life, Elizabeth Patton in the TV studio, and Sean Muldowney from IT organized the entertainment, broadcasting, and technical logistics for the telethon. On the day of the telethon, Ellen Curran from the medical center and Joan Mahoney, who lives at Linden Ponds, orchestrated the bank of telephones, which were open for two hours. Meanwhile, across the studio, about 40 musicians, including members of the Linden Ponds Singers and Kool Jazz Five, entertained. It was magnificent, says Marilyn Pula, who lives at Linden Ponds. We had six people on telephones, runners to pick up checks, cars driving runners people coming in singing, dancing Ruth Beyer, who lives at Linden Ponds and worked the telephones for an hour and a half that day, wrote about the event for Life @ Linden Ponds, the community's electronic magazine. "When we feel totally overhelmed, if we are fortunate, we survive thanks to the help of others," Beyer writes in her story. "When someone helps you survive, you return the favor by helping others. It's called payback time." This was very heartfelt, says Linden Ponds Executive Director Nina Holt, who participated in the fund-raising effort. It was very much a full community activity.

Touching the heart

Pierre Loubeau, senior HVAC mechanic atLinden Ponds, was shocked to learn of the earthquake in his home country. He went a week without word from his relatives there before hearing that his mother, sister, and brother were well. However, his aunt and uncle were still missing in the weeks after the earthquake. As a result of the telethon,Linden Ponds Haitian employees were granted $1,200 to $1,500 each, which they put toward trips to Haiti and support for their families there. Those who traveled to Haiti did so with paid time off, which their coworkers had pooled. Loubeau went to Haiti to see his family for a week in February. Holt says her team is recognizing that the needs [of workers with family in Haiti] will continue over time. We want to make sure they re getting their [paid time off] and won t lose time/money responding to the tragedy they face. We didn t want to create an additional hardship, she adds. Of the people atLinden Ponds, Loubeau says, I was overwhelmed. I don t have the words; I get so much warmth from people here they are so good to me.