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Catholic charities continue to provide aid in Haiti, rebuilding expected to take decades

2010-04-21

Jim Cavnar is the president of Cross International, a Catholic based non-profit, and one of the many Catholic charities that are making long term commitments to rebuild what was the second poorest country in the western hemisphere before the earthquake striked.

Jim Cavnar
President, Cross International

“After the earthquake Haiti is probably the second or third poorest country in the whole world. What there was of a middle class has been devastated. People lost their homes, their jobs they live like the very poorest people in the world.”

Cross international staff members describe the site of the earthquake as ‘Dante’s inferno’. The non-profit has sent more than 50 thousand pounds of supplies and meals to the victims-resources that are especially critical at this time, since the flow of aid has slowed down.

Cross International expects rebuilding efforts to last decades.

But the organization also helps the poor all over the world. Last year, the organization worked in 40 countries. The non-profit channels food, medical supplies and resources through Catholic churches and ministries. It partners particularly with small existing charities that don’t get financial help from the U.S. or Europe.

Jim Cavnar
President, Cross International

“When you get into the very very poorest places, the worst slums the poorest people after a disaster you find the Catholic Church, an it’s not always because they have the resources it’s because there a will and a desire to help.”

In fact, Cross International has been present in Haiti since 2001. Cavnar says the presence of Catholic organizations all around the world including Haiti, is one of the reason why they’re often at the frontlines after a disaster strikes.

Jim Cavnar
President, Cross International 
“Organizations like Cross International are able to be very effective in Haiti, almost immediately after the earthquake. We had long term relationships, contacts, people we trust, staff who were already there spoke the language and knew the culture.”

Cavnar says Cross International was there before the earthquake and will be there as long as it takes.

MC