Richard Hotes trains Hotes Foundation volunteers to respond quickly when natural disasters and other emergencies strike. This kind of urgent response allows the Hotes Foundation to reach people in the most need when it matters most. When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti in January 2010, the Hotes Foundation was among the first groups working to deliver much-needed supplies. The quake killed more than 230,000 Haitians, injured 300,000 more and displaced 279,000 people. One week after the earthquake, 30 Hotes Foundation volunteers arrived in Port-au-Prince and began delivering aid. After completing their original mission in Haiti’s capitol city, volunteers expanded their outreach to communities outside of Port-au-Prince. This included assisting with the construction of a 50-bed BLU-MED mobile hospital in the city of Leogane. In each village they came across, the Hotes Foundation's team distributed food and water, and they helped set up tents for temporary shelter.
Richard Hotes knew that when his Hotes Foundation volunteers left Haiti, they would be leaving a large number of people still using tents as shelter. Richard believed that he could offer more, and he directed volunteers to come up with housing solutions. Over the next several months, Hotes Foundation volunteers designed homes that could be rapidly built in Haiti. In December 2010, more than 100 volunteers traveled to Haiti on a mission to replace temporary tents with the specially designed homes.
Getting to Haiti was made more difficult by travel that was restricted as violent election riots erupted on the island. Undaunted, volunteers found flights to the Dominican Republic and drove rented vehicles laden with supplies into neighboring Haiti. Once there, the volunteers went to work, building 500 homes in a week. After this mission, Richard decided the Hotes Foundation needed to continue improving the lives of Haitians still reeling from the earthquake. The foundation adopted two villages, one of which was endearingly dubbed ‘New York.’ Richard donated a medical clinic, a children’s daycare and a kitchen to feed the village’s women and children five days a week. Volunteers also built restrooms and shower facilities. Additionally, the Hotes Foundation hired about 90-percent of the villages’ women to staff the new facilities and work on cleaning up their communities.
For more information on this mission or to learn how to volunteer with the Hotes Foundation, please call (425) 889-5917 or complete our online form.