As the death toll continues to rise in the latest disaster to visit Haiti, philanthropic and charitable rescue teams are rushing in from all over the globe to help alleviate the seemingly endless suffering. Former world champion boxer Andre Berto, an American of Haitian descent, has never been shy about his pride for the island nation - the first colonial state to toss off the chains of colonialism and slavery.
In 2010, Berto withdrew from a scheduled unification fight with Shane Mosley in Las Vegas following a horrific 7.0 earthquake that laid waste to the struggling country, a land which has been ostracized and taken advantage of by the western world powers almost from its birth.
Berto, who migrated to Winter Haven, Florida in 1980, represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games and has never been shy about the love and pride he has for his island nation.
(Photo Credit: Heavy Editorial)
Berto will be working with The Jack Brewer Foundation and the Global Ambassadors delegation to offer woefully needed relief to thousands who were displaced following the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew. He will deliver thousands of dollars in medical supplies collected from donations made through JBF's Haiti Emergency Relief Campaign. JBF and affiliates have already funded and distributed an estimated 15,000 pounds of food and plan to double that total by week's end.
“As soon as I learned how badly Haiti had been hit by Hurricane Matthew, I knew that I had to get over there as quickly as possible,” Berto said. “The Haitian people are extremely resilient but the damage from this storm is devastating and they badly need all of our help. I’m happy to work with the amazing Jack Brewer Foundation team to bring over medical supplies and food and show the Haitian people that they have our support as they begin to rebuild.”
Despite the outpouring of donations, NBC is reporting there are still hundreds of thousands of Haitians who haven't received any aid nearly a week after Matthew made landfall, and the United Nations humanitarian wing says 750,000 people in southwest Haiti are desperately in need of assistance.
Huffington Post reports over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or evacuated from orphanages.
Although Haiti is a small island that's around 27,000 square miles, with a population of around 10 million people, the nation has exported much talent to boxing, as well as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, Washington Redskins teammates Pierre Garcon and Ricky Francois have each made efforts to alleviate the suffering. Francois and Garcon, along with Washington's Senior Vice President of communications, Tony Wyllie, were on the ground to deliver supplies.
"The Haitian people are all about survival and working hard to provide for their family," Francois said via a press release. "It's not about shiny things, it's about caring for those in your family and working hard every day to provide food, water and shelter. They need help right now though, and for those of us that are more fortunate it's about going back to do our part to help them when they're in need. Now is that time."
Dumervil spent more than $400,000 of his own money to build concrete homes this past offseason.
All of the 24 homes built by Elvis survived the storm.
“Our homes help shelter more than 1,000 people," Dumervil told ESPN. "People who are not from Haiti don’t understand that most homes are not built to withstand a hurricane or an earthquake. That’s the difference between here and Miami. Concrete homes hold up."
(Cliff Avril, Marshawn Lynch and Other NFL Players in Haiti to Help Improve Lives of Children, Photo Credit: Seattle Seahawks)
Philadelphia Sixers big man Nerlens Noel and Sacramento Kings rookie forward Skal Labissierre are among the NBA players who have connections to the island nation. Also, Los Angeles Clippers star forward Blake Griffin's father is of Haitian descent as well.
Those are just some of the players in the league now, but Haiti's long list of NBA exports include Mario Ellie and Samuel Dalembert, both of whom were active in the relief efforts.
With the island being in such dire need, it's encouraging to see how much these athletes and activists love their homeland, and how they're willing to put their own time and money to use on the ground.
Haiti needs as much help as it can get, and it's good to see others like Marshawn Lynch, whose quietly been involved for years in helping to build schools there, and others like David Nelson, who is raising orphans there, taking action there through their own inner urgency to improve the lives of others who are most in need.