12/4/2012 9:41:00 AM Fundraiser to generate help for Haitians
Photo contributed by Charmika Schuster
Charmika Schuster, founder of Global Mustard Seeds Missions, cares for a starving infant in Haiti.
Clarice Keating Of the Catholic Sentinel
Helping Haitians is the aim at a silent auction from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 22, at St. Mary’s Academy. All funds raised will go toward the purchase of medical supplies for relief work in Haiti.
Charmika Schuster is organizing the event. The OHSU nurse practitioner and St. Mary’s alumna has used her vacation time for the past three years for medical relief trips to Haiti, still devastated following the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 316,000 and displaced 1.5 million people.
At the start of 2012, Schuster returned to Haiti for her third round of service. Though she has been before, it remains impossible to prepare mentally to see so much hardship, pain and hopelessness, she said.
“Witnessing the massive need, it is easy to contemplate feelings of inadequacy, at a loss with resolutions to do much that would really make a difference,” she said about her visit in early 2012.
To tackle the huge amount of need, Schuster started the non-profit Global Mustard Seed Missions (www.globalmustardseeds.com) and sold T-shirts last year to raise funds for medications, food and hygiene products for Haitian orphans and patients.
Global Mustard Seed Missions channels funds and assistance to Haiti and other nations in crisis and allows medical personnel to set up mobile clinics. Schuster is in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status, which will allow donations to Global Mustard Seed Missions to be written off for tax purposes.
“Looking at the big picture in scenes like this must be avoided as it is self-defeating and overwhelming, only casting doubts on the possibilities,” Schuster said about her visit in 2012. “At least for the patients encountered, I have a chance to make a difference, maybe help cure a disease and, at least for a point in time, make someone’s load a little lighter.”
She leaves for a fourth relief trip to Haiti in January and is currently fundraising to purchase otoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and other supplies to be used in mobile clinics and given to local doctors. She is also seeking donations of multivitamins, iron supplements and reading glasses. Health care providers, dentists and pharmacists interested in providing logistical support are also encouraged to get in touch.
Need is great right now due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through Haiti and other Caribbean nations, as well as the East Coast of the United States, in late October.
Schuster was honored for her dedication to care, compassion and dedication to improve others’ lives through service when she was named “Community Health Nurse of the Year” at the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year awards, presented by OHSU.
The fundraiser will be at the St. Mary’s Academy auditorium, 1615 S.W. Fifth Ave., Portland. Admission if free. Food will be available for purchase. For more information, contact Schuster at [email protected] or 202-329-7212 or visit www.globalmustardseeds.com.