Creston student putting hands, heart to work in Haiti

Web Lead

  • Nov. 14, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Aaron Gregory says he often thinks about what kind of life he would be living if his adoptive mom hadn’t connected with the Haitian orphanage he spent his early years in. Now the Prince Charles Secondary School student is working to help give back some of the good fortune he’s enjoyed growing up in Canada.

“When Mom (Mary Gregory) and I went back to Haiti two years ago, I felt really connected with my home country, but I didn’t know how to help,” he said on Friday. “Now we are starting to make a plan and it feels really good to help out.”

Aaron and Mary are returning to Haiti on Nov. 18, and they will take suitcases filled with much needed items for the orphanage. They will also volunteer their help while they are on the visit.

Through his Facebook page, Welcome to Hands ’n’ Hearts for Haiti, Aaron has been soliciting donations of small practical items that will be of use at the orphanage.

“We are taking underwear, soap, crib sheets, toothpaste and toothbrushes and sandals or flip-flops,” he said.

And, because this is Creston and quilters are incredibly generous, a bundle of 30 baby quilts will be included in the luggage.

He is hoping that the airline will waive fees for additional luggage, but he won’t get a definitive answer until they arrive at the airport.

“We’ve received some cash donations that will cover luggage fees, but if the airline waives the fees we will give the money to the lady who runs the orphanage,” he said.

For Aaron and Mary, their volunteer efforts are another way to cement their already solid relationship.

“Through my love for Haiti, my mom has also developed a love for the country,” he said. “Now it is time for us to go back, putting our hands and hearts to work in Haiti.”

Aaron continues to accept donated items, but he prefers that cash donations be made through the Canadian Foundation for the Children of Haiti, which will be building a school beside the orphanage in Port au Prince. That project was shelved after the earthquake that shattered Haiti in 2010.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or get further information can contact Aaron at 250-428-3561 or 250-402-3561.

The Advance will provide follow-up coverage of Aaron’s trip when he and Mary return.