Boston Irish team up to help Haiti orphans

A large group of Bostonians of Irish heritage, chaired by Winnie Henry of Milton and Pat “Doc” Walsh of Dorchester, have gathered to raise funds to support relief efforts for Haitian children orphaned by the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

Organizing as “Irish Hearts for Haiti Committee,” a group of more than 30 Irish-born and Irish Americans have been meeting for months to make plans for the event. Working with her family and the committee, Winnie, the widow of Irish music legend Noel Henry, plans a day of continuous Irish music and entertainment from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., this Sunday May 2, at the Quincy Marriott Hotel.

The event will feature the music of many of Boston’s leading Irish musicians, including Erin’s Melody with Margaret Dalton, the Andy Healy Band, Noel Henry’s Irish Showband, Fintan Stanley, John Connors & the Irish Express, and Larry Reynolds and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eíreann. There will also be a silent auction and raffle prizes.

The organizers promise it will be a festive day-long event with music, dance and “no speeches,” with all proceeds going to provide some measure of relief to suffering children in Haiti.

The organizers released an statement reading in part: “With over half of Haiti’s population under the age of 18, a disproportionate number of children are exposed to disease, death, and suffering. This was the grim reality before the earthquake. Now, there are estimates that over one million children will be orphaned and without urgent healthcare.

“Supporting agencies who provide care to the children of Haiti is the aim of the first Annual Benefit Dance for Haiti: From the hearts of the Irish to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. With your support, financial and volunteer services will be provided to orphaned and abandoned children through the organization of Friends of the Orphans: Nos Petit Frères et Soeurs (NFPS- French for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”).

“The work of NPFS is critically important, as access to healthcare is basically non-existent. Through their pediatric hospital, St. Damien, free medical services including surgery and physical therapy will be provided in addition to other outreach programs providing food, water, education, and assistance for the disabled.” Friends of the Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID# 65-1229309, that meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards. Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Several Irish media outlets will participate as sponsors of the event, including 950 AM WROL, The Irish Emigrant, the Boston Herald, the Dorchester and Mattapan Reporter newspapers and the Boston Irish Reporter. Other business sponsors include Marriott Boston Quincy and the Courier Corporation.

Admission is just $20, and tickets are available at most local Irish shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as at the door. More information is available by calling Doc Walsh at 617-298-8220, Winnie Henry at 617-696-8585 or by sending an e-mail to IrishHeartsforHaiti@gmail.com. Details are also available online at tinyurl.com/yc3bwft.

– Ed Forry