When Eliza was 6 years old she really wanted to start a business. She had the idea to call it “Valentines” and focus it on “hearts”. She decided to make heart shaped mini cakes and sell them to neighbors as Valentines for people to give to their loved ones for Valentines Day. Her family had a friend who knew the founder of Healing Hands for Haiti who was currently in crisis mode because of the devastating 2010 earthquake that had just severely damaged their only clinic in Haiti at the time. Encouraged by her mother and family friend, Eliza learned about and decided to donate a portion of her profit of her earnings to this clinic in need. After an informative fireside given by Dr. Jeff Randle, founder of Healing Hands for Haiti, he was surprised by 6 year old Eliza and her “Haiti Jar” which had her donation that contained a percentage of her small profit she had earned with her Valentines business. A relationship began and a seed of service was planted as tears were shed by many that night on behalf of Haiti’s devastation and the possibilities of a child with limited scope offering the little money she had. And thus… Eliza’s Hearts for Haiti was born.
It became a yearly tradition to advertise the Valentine Bags for sale to friends and family in which Eliza decided 100% of profit would be donated to Healing Hands for Haiti. Every year Eliza would schedule a meeting with Dr. Randle to hand over the Haiti jar where all proceeds were collected. As she got older, she had a group of girls called Liberty Girls make a quilt for a child in Haiti along with her donations. Dr. Randle delivered it for her to a girl in an orphanage in Haiti and it connected her to the people there at a greater level. A couple of years after that she engaged her Junior High in the project and her school held a special assembly to encourage kids to advertise the Valentine bags and win prizes for top sales. It was a thrilling experience for Eliza to hand over the Haiti Jar with 4x the amount she had raised previously to help these clinics in Haiti. As Eliza got older she learned more about the culture and people of Haiti. She realized that in Haiti if you lose a limb you are actually cast out of functioning society and it is not permissible for you to work normal employment. These clinics train and serve Haitians in a comprehensive rehabilitation program that includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, provides prosthetics and also partners with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints wheelchair program. This has deeply touched Eliza. She has decided to now take her fundraiser to a University level and tap into the compassion and energy of her young adult peers to assist her. She is currently organizing a committee at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to help with social media support, other advertising and Valentine fundraising events that will hopefully allow her to give Dr. Randle a Haiti Jar that will really make a difference for the clinics patients who are in need more than ever. Currently because of Covid and the political crisis, the country of Haiti faces chaos with people afraid to leave their homes and severe lack of food, water and gasoline. The recent earthquake (August 2021) in the south has left more than 100 people in need of prosthetic limbs and hundreds more in need of the clinics services as government services have essentially ceased to function.