It’s come together in just 10 days. As relief workers, doctors and emergency personnel scramble to assist victims of the earthquake in Haiti, Our Milwaukee -- a local business alliance -- has rushed to put together the "Our Milwaukee 4 Haiti" benefit, slated to run 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31 at Lakefront Brewery.
While aid workers are tirelessly giving their time around the clock, "Our Milwaukee 4 Haiti" only asks folks to stop in for a few beers, snack on local foods and listen to local music. And of course, donate a few dollars.
The event supports two locally connected organizations, Friends of the Orphans and Youthaiti. Both organizations have established practices in Haiti, working to provide emergency relief now and also investing in the well-being and rebuilding of the country for the long haul.
Our Milwaukee was created in 2006 as a business alliance for locally owned businesses, services and organizations. Its focus is to maintain the city’s genuine, quality experience and celebrate its unique character. Currently, more than 150 businesses are Our Milwaukee members including founding members Alterra Coffee, Outpost Natural Foods, the Pabst Theater, Beans and Barley, Laacke and Joys and Brewery Credit Union.
For the musical lineup, Our Milwaukee has tapped local performers including Cecilio Negròn Jr., percussionist from De La Buena and Kings Go Forth, who will perform Haitian-style drumming at 3 p.m. Chalice in the Palace, Milwaukee’s own Reggae, Dub, Dancehall, Ska and Roots DJs, will spin records all day long, followed by a live performance from Dub District Reggae from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
More 50 local businesses, shops and restaurants have donated raffle and silent auction items valued between $40 and $1,000 dollars. All of the money collected for raffles, auctions and beer sale goes to helping victims in Haiti. Donations also can be made directly via the Friends of Orphans or Youthaiti Web sites.
Our Milwaukee chose the two organizations because of their local connections.
Youthaiti focuses on sustainable infrastructure including composting toilets,
organic gardens, hygiene education and reforestation. Their work aims
to break the cycle of contamination and improve health and crop productivity. Youthaiti was founded by Gigi Pomerantz, a nurse practitioner from Milwaukee, after she visited Haiti in 2006.
The other group, Friends of the Orphans, runs St. Damien Hospital, the only free pediatric hospital in Port-Au-Prince, as well as two orphanages in the area. The organization, founded in 1987, is Haitian run with the support of international workers and volunteers, including two Milwaukee residents. The hospital, which normally cares for 120 patients, is currently seeing more than 700 men, women and children, with additional mobile clinics dispensed to emergency tent camps.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.
After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined OnMilwaukee.com as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.
Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.