When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in October of 2016, the results were disastrous. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 19% of the Haitian population, 2.1 million people, were affected by the hurricane and more than 12%, 1.4 million people, were in need of urgent assistance.
With family roots in Haiti, Oximike Morand, a junior Management-Marketing major, wanted to help those who were still impacted by the results of the hurricane. Morand, who was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when he was six, knew what it was like to live on the island during times of distress.
“This hurricane killed hundreds of people and left many homeless,” Morand said. “This truly hit home and opened my eyes. I saw the damage that it left and from there I knew that I needed to do my part to help. I know what it is like to live down there. I can very much relate to the hardships that the people face.”
Morand decided to use his business aspirations to help him facilitate his philanthropic journey. He wanted to provide food bags for those who were in desperate need, and using a cost analysis, determined that it would be cheaper to purchase everything in Haiti than in the United States. He fundraised for his project between December 2016 to May 2017.
This past summer, Morand traveled to Haiti and chronicled his journey. From June 13 – 20, alongside friends and family, Morand put together bags consisting of rice, spaghetti, beans, oil, and a seasoning called Maggi.
“I was able to raise $2,500,” Morand said. “The donations came from friends, family members, and coworkers. They saw how passionate I felt about helping and I thoroughly explained what I would be doing down there. They donated however much they could.”
The response from the families who received the food was overwhelming.
“They were beyond excited,” he said. “I went to one of the most rural parts of Haiti where people do not work and quite frankly are just starving. I was able to feed 250 families and they were not shy to hug and show their appreciation because they really needed the food. Also, this made me realize that I can’t stop. I have to do my best to continue this. I’m already brainstorming my next trip and how I can be more effective in donating. This experience humbled me and made me much more caring and aware of other people’s situations.”