On April 28, 2017, friends, Marlyse Baptista and Roger Morey, hosted Return2Haiti’s Iron Chef Ann Arbor Friends Fundraiser. They opened their home to over 40 guests, Iron Chef Tamara Young from Great Lakes Chef ( http://www.greatlakeschef.com/ ) in Milford, MI and Alexis Cook, from Espresso Royale (2603 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI site), in support of the people of Belle Anse, Haiti.

Cindy and Pierre Balthazar spoke to the crowd of friends, showing their passion for the village of Belle Anse, Pierre’s hometown. Their talk covered the history of the town, how difficult it is to travel from Port Au Prince to Belle Anse, their poor economy, sometimes non-existent education for the very poor and the lack of food and clean water. Several sponsorship options were presented and are currently available to help support.

Chef Tamara Young prepared small Haitian plates of food, for all to try, along with an equally delicious sweetened rice covered with fruit for our dessert. While people ate and had freshly ground coffee and a carafe of tea from Alexis Cook, many asked questions, wondering how they could help. Generous donations were made, a lot of networking was done and many found hope of joining our team on a future trip one day soon!

There are a million needs in Belle Anse, Haiti. Many, very basic, like clean water and nutritious food. As we talk to the people there, we are able to coordinate their needs with your donations, our volunteers, and supporting them in a variety of ways. Like buying local supplies whenever we can to help their economy and especially hiring the local people to help them gain confidence and earn money to support their families. Our focus as an organization is on Health, Education and Environment. Your help, in whatever form, goes to making this possible. Your check could be paying a worker at the end of the day, so he can feed and send his children to school (true story) or helping us sponsor a teacher.

The founders of Return2Haiti, Pierre and Cindy Balthazar, have been doing this for years on their own and with the help of a few churches and rotary clubs. The additional support has allowed Cindy and Pierre to work on a variety of projects with the people in Haiti. R2H has reached a point where we are ready to proceed with numerous projects in Belle Anse, to help them become the sustainable community that they want and we want to help them obtain.

Thank you to the many friends who joined us at Marlyse and Roger’s home. At this time $2,400 has been raised from our Ann Arbor fundraiser, but checks continue to arrive by mail. To donate, go to our website Return2Haiti.org and click on GoFundMe at the bottom of our page or contact Cindy and Pierre at Phone: (517) 927-4767 Email: info@return2haiti.org

Thank you. With much love, from ALL of our hearts.

-Written by: Janice K. Nelson, Photographer, Fundraiser Coordinator, Activist, Haiti volunteer