PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The Knights of Columbus, in partnership with the Global Wheelchair Mission and HHS Foundation, has distributed wheelchairs to victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. In all, the Knights will provide more than 1,000 wheelchairs to those most in need in Haiti. The initial distribution took place at the University of Miami/Medishare Hospital in Port au Prince on April 27.
"Though time has dimmed the memory of the tragic earthquake in Haiti for many who live elsewhere, the physical suffering of those injured in the earthquake and here in Port au Prince continues in a very real way," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "We are grateful for the opportunity to give the gift of mobility to those who need it most, and who otherwise would be condemned to lives of isolation and hopelessness."
He added, "The Knights were founded in 1882 to help those most in need – at that time the widows and orphans of men who worked in dangerous jobs in and industrial revolution without a safety net. Today, I can think of no group more in need than those who lost everything, including their mobility, in this terrible tragedy."
Wheelchair donations are among the most well-known charitable programs of the Knights of Columbus, who have distributed thousands of wheelchairs over the past decade in countries such as Afghanistan, Mexico, Panama, Cuba and Jordan, as well as at VA medical centers around the United States.
Following the earthquake in Haiti, the Knights raised more than $500,000 for relief efforts for the Caribbean nation.
One of the most active charitable groups in the United States, the Knights of Columbus members last year set records despite the weak economy by providing nearly 69 million hours of charitable service and more than $150 million in donations to charitable causes. The organization has nearly 1.8 million members worldwide, in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, the Philippines and Poland.