Two young college girls have embarked on a project to make life better for the children of Haiti.
Alyssa Ruhenkamp and Kristi Moorman of Maria Stein, Ohio, founded Love Crosses Borders after visiting Haiti during their holiday break in January. Ruhenkamp is starting her third year of college at the University of Toledo. Moorman is in her last year at the University of Dayton.
After arriving home from the eight-day mission trip, Ruhenkamp said she could not get the impoverished children off her mind.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about our trip and felt like I had to do something to make a difference for some of the children, even if it’s a small difference,” the 2016 Marion Local High School graduate explained.
Ruhenkamp said it was difficult returning home to running water, a comfortable mattress and a pantry filled with food after witnessing the horrific conditions in Haiti.
The pair brainstormed for about a month before starting their project. Love Crosses Borders involves the creation of care packages for children in an orphanage in Cite Soleil, the poorest city in Haiti. The women are collecting shampoo, bar soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and lotion. They also will fill the care packages with school supplies, small toys, pencils, notebooks, nail polish, Matchbox cars, decks of cards, rosaries and other items.
“These are things that we often take for granted, but would mean the world to these children,” Ruhenkamp told Totally Promotional.
Ruhenkamp and Moorman have held multiple fundraisers to purchase the items they will need for 250 care packages. Totally Promotional donated the bags they will fill and distribute to the children in Haiti in December.
Anyone interested in visiting Haiti or donating items or cash to Love Crosses Borders, should send an email to Alyssa.Ruhenkamp@rockets.utoledo.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is available on their Facebook site.
Ruhenkamp said she was disturbed and moved by the harsh living conditions she saw in Cite Soleil.
“The houses are made of sticks, scrap metal and just about anything else the people can find for protection,” she said. “There is almost no access to clean water, which results in walking miles and miles just to find water that can be utilized.”
Cite Soleil has the lowest elevation in the country and flooding is a frequent problem. Residents sometimes sit on the roofs of their makeshift homes for days, baking in the sun with no food or water, waiting for the water to recede, Ruhenkamp said.
The city has no restrooms so the people relieve themselves wherever they choose. Sewage, garbage and filth pollute the region, she added. Poverty is everywhere.
“I’m convinced that anyone who visits the country would feel the same way as we did after returning. The trip is absolutely life-changing,” Ruhenkamp said.
The staff at Totally Promotional is proud to support Ruhenkamp and Moorman’s work and wish them safe travels on their return visit to Haiti.