Open Hands: Helping Haiti

by ACP on January 14, 2010

hands holding anythingWhat do you hold in your hands?

MY ORIGINAL PLAN today was to update the blog by providing one of the recipes that I made for my father’s birthday lunch. Birthdays are joyous occasions, and it’s appropriate that we celebrated. But in the midst of celebration, it’s important to keep a global perspective, too.

The day before my father’s birthday, tragedy struck tens of thousands in the form of an earthquake that has devastated Haiti. In the face of this, it simply feels too indulgent to continue to write, without pause, about the bounty of food in my comfortable kitchen—a kitchen equipped with all the running water (hot and cold) that I could wish for and a gas stove to provide heat for cooking. Warmth and the aromas of nourishing food prevail here, while elsewhere in the world, there is “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”

So, instead of posting a recipe today, I wanted to take a minute to ask myself (and you): What do you hold in your hands? What gifts have you been given? Do you have access to natural and other resources? Do you enjoy health, family, a roof over your head and food on your table?

Even if you think you have little, you might consider that there are always people who have much less. I don’t wish to presume or to preach, but certainly this is true if you have the luxury of reading this post. All over the world, too many people are lacking the basic survival requirements of food, water, shelter, and medical attention.

Lots of organizations are working hard to help on the ground in Haiti (and elsewhere). An interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor talks about how when tragedy strikes in developing nations, it is even more crucial to get support in the form of donations rolling in quickly. The article points out that because of the difficulty of transport in a time of crisis, the best path to helping is to donate money to a trusted agency that can convert the funds into whatever is needed, on location. The Monitor also provides a list of seven ways to give. There you’ll find contact information and links to: the American Red Cross, CARE, Concern Worldwide, Direct Relief International, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, and World Vision.

In addition to those mentioned above, the following agencies are also in need of funds to continue their humanitarian efforts:

Here at Feeding the Saints, recipes will return soon. But for now, I’m going to make a promise and a request:

For each comment (not spam) that this post receives in the next 36 hours through the end of the night on MONDAY, JANUARY 18, I will give $1.00 above my planned donation toward relief in Haiti. I’ll give $2.00 for a comment that shows you’ve read any other post on the blog. ;-)

Update [Jan 16]: a friend and colleague in all things editorial, Gina Frangello of OV BOOKS, has just offered to match the donations here, so your comments will have a double impact.

Update [Jan 19]: all comments have been counted as a $2.00 donation. You can read the results and see a donation receipt in my Thank You post.

Please, especially if you yourself are not in a position to donate funds at this time, leave a comment and saintly prayer for those who need it.

And forgive me if I can’t keep up with personal thanks for your comments—you know you have my gratitude, each one of you.

Thank you.

[Photo credit: Image by m_bartosch/]

{ 2 trackbacks }

Open Hands: Helping Haiti « Woodstock International Walk for Peace
January 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm
The Monday Menu: January 18, 2010 | Food for My Family
January 17, 2010 at 11:16 pm

{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

christine January 14, 2010 at 11:21 pm

what do I hold in my hands … thankfully my children. My beautiful, healthy children who fill me more than anything ever has. When I saw photos of Haitians who lost their children and saw the devastation, I knew I had to help. With this in mind, I made my donation as well. Because we sleep soundly while others suffer. I am glad to know that you, too, have good things in your hands tonight and your heart always.


Max Jones January 15, 2010 at 12:46 am

Hi Alison,
I have been following your blog for a while and I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks. What you are doing over this 36 hours is very kind, creative, and generous. I haven’t stopped by to say hello until now, but this seems like as good a time as any. So, hello! I have enjoyed reading Feeding the Saints, especially of late. I’m a firm believer in having some cornbread on hand, year-round. I bake cornbread pretty often, and I’m always playing around with slightly different recipes. I look forward to giving your grandmother Mimi’s Buttermilk Cornbread a whirl. I also have plans to make the Demeter & Persephone salad recipe you posted last week. Right now, I’m still trucking with plain old goat cheese & pear.

Again, thank you for the great blog, but most of all thank you for giving your readers an opportunity to help the people of Haiti.


maria January 15, 2010 at 1:56 am

I feel so helpless in times like these alison – Haiti is just two hours away from Miami, yet it is one of the poorest places in the world.

I pray through Ayios Fanourios that the Haitians will find peace soon


Nicola B January 15, 2010 at 2:15 am

Thank you so much for making this generous offer. I am also THRILLED to know about your blog. As a serious cook, who loves sharing my “work” with my online friends this is an inspiration. I am also embarrassed to say that I do not own the book, The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. But, I am going to look for it right away!


Christopher Wick January 15, 2010 at 2:54 am

Thank you for helping me keep the important things in perspective. You are gracious and well spoken, two traits befitting someone with such an open heart. In honor of your pledge I will chip in again at Yele Haiti.


Nurse Sarah January 15, 2010 at 3:01 am

Dear Haiti- i’m praying hard for you & your people during this catastrophic tragedy. I am wishing you strength, perseverance & divine intervention during this terrible time. Signed with compassion, love & concern, Nurse Sarah McNary

Dear A.C. Parker- thank you for providing an alternative way to help. I have forwarded this posting to everyone i know in the hopes that many will respond & support relief for Haiti & share in the abundance of information on your tasty blog. I loved the post about the Epiphany & King Cake tradition. I lived, once upon a time in New Orleans & have always celebrated Carnival since. Thank you for educating me on the finer points of that lovely tradition! Someday i might be brave enough to attempt the recipe!
Thank you again,
Nurse Sarah


James O'Connell January 15, 2010 at 3:19 am

It is gut-wrenching that a country already so poor has to endure such awful circumstances. My thoughts go out to the people of Haiti.


Adrienne January 15, 2010 at 4:19 am

Bless you! I love how individuals are coming up with ways to help people in Haiti!


jolie muller January 15, 2010 at 6:08 am

A very inspiring idea. Having made our donation, I am struggling with what I can do now. I am sure your dad enjoyed his lunch, that quiche looked amazing. And licorice ice cream ! I marvel at people with the patience to cook, I am not among them.


pat shea January 15, 2010 at 7:20 am

my thoughts and prayers go out to all the haitian people who are suffering in haiti and around the world


D Larue January 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

To have you as a daughter is such an incredible gift. Especially so highlighted in times like these: your caring heart, your spirit, decisions like this one re the blog as response to Haiti: you are amazing and no one else in this world can say: “This is my daughter, flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone, soul of my soul, yet, at the same time, you are not me. You are a wonderful, unique being. And, every day I give thanks for who you are, that you are!



ACP January 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Did you think I wouldn’t post this? I know you hold back from commenting much, because, well, you’re my dad and maybe it doesn’t look “cool” to have Dad on the blog. Rubbish. You’ve always been the “coolest” and the most compassionate–a fine example that I am ashamed to say I don’t always live up to, but I do my best. If I have a heart with a will to help others, it’s in large part (if not entirely) because I have parents who put emphasis on the right things. Thank you so much for the comment. I love you, Dad; you’re a wise counselor, guide, mentor, and friend. XO


Alissa Maguire January 15, 2010 at 8:46 am

I hold in my hands everything necessary to make a happy life. That is a real gift, to have all the resources needed in order to shape a way of being. I have plentiful food and water and shelter, and a family that surrounds me with love. I also have friends like you, new-found, but ever the same. We haven’t been in touch for more than twenty years, but I still know you by your spirit, which is shining extra bright in otherwise horrible circumstances. I was glad I found you then, and I’m glad I found you now. Thank you for doing this.


Shelley Grams January 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

Alison, thank you for posting this. What do I hold in my hands? My son. He is my most precious gift. I also hold the power of my life. My hands enable me to shape the future of my family and friends.

ps: I am going to make that “Bonne Année” Du Puy Lentil Soup!


Jessica January 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

You are a wonderful gift to the world. And your dad’s post brought tears to my eyes. It is so wonderful to share love in the spirit of giving.


Peg and Francis McNary January 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

We’re grateful to daughter/nurse/comedian Sarah for sharing your blog with us and giving us an opportunity to share our concerns and sympathy for the people of Haiti during this hideous catastrophe. We’re praying and find your Dad’s remarkable comments admirable.

Dear Haitians,
Be aware of our prayers and sympathy and hope for an ease in your discomforts and losses during these terrible times.
The McNarys


Mary B January 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

What a lovely post, Alison. I’ve been spending the last few days in the same mindset as you and not getting a lot of sleep — thinking about the people who are sleeping on the streets. Our church is heavily involved with Haiti, so I am planning to make my donations there. Thank you for the gift of this post and please say Happy Birthday to your Dad for me!


edava January 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Kudos to you for doing this.


katie January 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Very thoughtful and innovative way to use your blog. We are so blessed in this country…
May God be with those in Haiti; may he be with the victims, but particularly the healthy and able who are working to restore basic necessities and order.


edava January 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Just found out that my company, Bertelsman, will be donating dollar for dollar matching, as well.


erica January 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm

thank you for making these contributions. and if i drool appropriately over grandma’s cornbread with a healthy pat of butter on it, you will double this one, right? thank you again for doing this. it’s much appreciated!


Jennifer M. January 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Thank you for your generous donation! I enjoyed reading your post about cornbread and learning of your grandmother. She sounds much like my own!


GULEN January 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Very thoughtful initiative. Thank you Allison. My home country (Turkey) had similar tragedies in the past. We are all feeling this pain in our hearts. Our prayers are for Haitian people.


David Leite January 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Allison, what an incredibly generous and heartfelt gesture. I’m proud to be part of it.


Ann Kingman January 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

What a beautiful post and generous offer. I admit that the poignancy of your post made me sad, and then reading the comment from your Dad made me cry. You are blessed to have strong family ties, as am I. Thank you for your donation.

As I was looking through your blog, I came upon your post about the tradition of the wheat berry dish to honor the deceased. I had never heard of that before, but something about the tradition resonates with me. I am not of Greek descent, but I don’t think my departed loved ones will mind if I make some Kolvya (?) in their honor sometime soon.


Doreen January 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

what a touching and generous thing to do – I just found your blog from a RT of your post from kalfogas – I’m going to have to come back and read some more … as you’re the kind of person I’d like to learn more about – I can tell from this one blog entry.

Thank you .. my thoughts and prayers are going out for the people of Haiti and those who are affected by the devastation there.


Bria Grace January 15, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Thank you so, so much! Consider me commented!


Geralyn January 15, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Shelley told me what you are doing – via facebook, thank you!


Dawn January 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Thank you, thank you. I found you through Pioneer Woman, and found her through Watching the Waters. I’ll return here on another day.


Jan January 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm

I think we are all scrambling to make sense of such a tragedy and come up with actions where we have an impact. Thank you for putting it out there Allison. I believe everything matters, every action, every thought.


Teresa January 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Thank you for helping Haiti! My family and I volunteer with Haiti Outreach in Pignon, Haiti and are sceduled to go there on Feb. 18′th. (My 5′th trip). We are still ready to go if they need us.


Mysti Dawn January 15, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Sweetheart, in a time when many of us are looking for some way to help and make a difference it is a wonder to see such an easy and eloquent commitment and solution to it by you! Do what you can…….and appreciate and realize what you have. I have you as a friend, which is worth more than I can say!!! I will make another donation tomorrow as well. (btw, the text to 90999 for red cross is an easy quick way to donate as well-and not a scam, I even researched)


Molly January 15, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Thank you for doing this! A generous gesture indeed.

(Your Demeter and Persephone antioxidant salad looks delicious, in case you were serious about having read previous posts on your blog :P)


Leslie January 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Thank you for your generosity in this time of distress! God Bless you & yours!


Nicole January 16, 2010 at 12:04 am

God Bless You and the people you are helping!!


Sally B. January 16, 2010 at 12:15 am

I donated $10 to the American Red Cross via text message, and $5 to Yele Haiti also via text message. I have also blogged about Haiti, urging others to donate what they can, and am visiting as many blogs as I can. Thank you for doing this!

PS…The soup and quiche you made for your dad look divine!


L.Kennedy January 16, 2010 at 12:42 am

So cool that you’re doing this!


Crystal January 16, 2010 at 12:44 am

Thank you and God Bless you for doing this!
And I think that ‘An extra dollop of whipped cream with colored sugar sprinkles’ on the hot chocolate is a great idea!


Lisa January 16, 2010 at 1:38 am

Thank you for doing this.


J January 16, 2010 at 6:09 am

making Mimi’s corn bread today and thinking of how thankful i am to have a kitchen to cook in for my 3 boys! Thank you for doing this!


Wendy January 16, 2010 at 6:52 am

In your salad recipe (January 7th) you include 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds…any chance you’ve figured out an *easy* way to get those seeds out? ;)

I continue to pray for Haiti…


ACP January 17, 2010 at 12:08 am

I have heard that doing this underwater makes a big difference, at least in terms of the mess. Usually, I admit that I butcher the pomegranates: just slice right through, splitting some seeds, but the majority remain intact and I just pull sections apart, picking out the membrane. Try the water, though.


Sunny January 16, 2010 at 8:33 am

When I turned on the radio yesterday, the first sentence I heard was “Tens of thousands are feared dead.” By noon I was hearing numbers of 40 and 50 thousand. By the end of the the day, estimates of 140 thousand. As stressful as my life is right now, I have huge gratitude for my family, the roof over my head, and the rest of a long list. Life in Haiti on a good day is hard. Poverty is a life-degrading force, and it touches everyone in Haiti. Even though I am not much of a pray-er, I offer prayers to those affected by the earthquake, and hope it reaches them. Thank you for doing this, as I can not afford to give much on my own right now.

I did read a couple of other posts, and particularly liked the one about your Aunt Bea and Kolyva. The first photograph on the post is beautiful.


heidi January 16, 2010 at 8:51 am

people amaze me! thank you for giving us one more way we can help Haiti.


K.N.Vinod January 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

Keep up the good work! Very well written and a great gesture. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.



Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) January 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

For Haiti x


Sharon January 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

Found you through Corey — thank you for what you are doing for Haiti.


Stacy January 16, 2010 at 10:34 am

Thank you for doing this! And I must say, the Grilled Prosciutto and Smoked Gouda sandwich looks unbelievably amazing!!!


Elizabeth January 16, 2010 at 10:37 am

I’m amazed by this project! Well done. (I’m also very impressed that 20 minutes picking puy lentils out of your mother-in-law’s luggage!! Of course, I understand why you did it too. Aren’t puy lentils wonderful?)


The Cooking Ninja January 16, 2010 at 11:28 am

I’m to see another fellow blogger doing the same as I am to help raise funds for Haiti. :)


Mary January 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

Thank you for your generosity and kindness. I love it when people help others in need.

I live up north where winter has set in. I love salads but find myself drifting toward something hearty when I’m cold. Pomegranates on a salad? Who knew? Gotta try it.


Amanda Hesser January 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thank you for helping.


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post: Happy Birthday, Dad

Next post: How a Baker Says Thank You