By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — What started as a fundraising event to build a water well in Haiti has turned into multiple fundraisers to help rebuild the country devastated by a Jan. 12 earthquake.
Lynn Leming, a teacher and student council leader at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport, had previously planned to go to Haiti in June to teach through ServeHAITI. The organization includes volunteers from various parishes in and outside the Davenport Diocese who work with the people of Grand Bois, Haiti. “Now my assignment is to rebuild a school,” she said.
The day before the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 12-year-old Kellen Myers, a seventh-grader at St. Paul’s, asked the student council to host a fundraiser to support Leming’s trip. He wanted to help her raise at least $1,200 for a well. Kellen got the support he wanted and had started planning a benefit concert.
“It was already in the works before the tragedy,” Kellen’s mom, MaryBeth Myers, said Jan. 18.
Kellen and his brother, Logan, 9, along with Andrew Landers and Ellis Kell, were working on the concert with Mojo’s at River Music Experience in downtown Davenport.
“The next day the earthquake happened and they (Kellen and the other musicians) worked ‘fast and furious’ to turn this into a charity concert for Haiti relief funds,” MaryBeth said.
The Myers brothers have been involved in charity projects before. They raised money for the Red Cross following the tsunami in 2005. They put on some form of a benefit every year. “This will be the biggest one,” their mom said.
When Leming got involved with ServeHAITI she invited a member of the group along with a missionary to speak to her classes. The students learned about the children, families and the overall needs of the people. Leming wanted to help raise funds for a water well that would serve a large area. “My goal was to raise $1,200 and take the money to Haiti and help facilitate the building of a well. Then everything changed,” Leming said.
Following the Jan. 12 earthquake there was a bigger push on fundraising. Students from St. Paul’s school collected money after Masses last weekend. “Our goal was to raise $5,000,” Leming said. “We raised $6,500, which included a $2,000 check from the parish.”
This weekend (Jan. 23-24) a bake sale will be held after all Masses. Father Michael Spiekermeier, pastor of the parish, has dubbed it the “Biggest Bake Sale Ever,” Leming said.
Families will donate baked goods and the students have been making ribbons and bracelets to raise awareness and funds. Items will be available in the vestibule before, during and after all Masses, Leming noted. “Our total goal now is $10,000.”
The charity concert will be held from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 26 at Mojo’s, 129 Main St., in Davenport. “One hundred percent of the donations will go to Serve HAITI,” MaryBeth Myers said.
Donations are accepted at the door. The suggested donation is $5 per student, $10 for adults and $25 per family. “We will not turn anyone away who cannot pay,” MaryBeth said.