Breakfast with Santa to benefit women in Haiti

by Super User
Holiday fund-raising event offers kids’ crafts, activities to help open safe house American and Haitian Christmas traditions are colliding for the third annual Breakfast with Santa. The family-friendly event, which raises money for Nadege, Inc., to open a safe house for women in Haiti, will bring together aspects of both cultures to ring in the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 9. “The hope this year is that we can bring a little Haiti to Kokomo, which we’ve never done in the past. We’re really excited about that because it’ll be the first time we can really connect people in Kokomo to Haiti,” said Emily Hays, founder of Nadege, Inc.

To bridge the cultures, the event will feature a few new additions. One addition is the featuring of a Haitian American dance team made up of elementary-aged dancers who will perform for the crowd.

Another addition, Breakfast with Santa will have a fanal, which is Creole for “lighthouse.” Kids can be able to walk inside the lighthouse to visit with Santa. Fanals are a big tradition in Haiti, said Hays.



“They’re a huge tradition. Kids will go around and collect scrap cardboard, paper, whatever they can find, and they’ll build these houses and put a little light in it. They put it in their house to display at Christmastime, so we’re going to have a big fanal the kids come into,” she said. In addition, the kids will be able to create their own fanals with materials provided. Each child will be given a battery-operated tea light for their craft so they can take it home and display it in front of their house or use it as a decoration.

Along with Santa, there will be two live reindeer and face painters from Indianapolis. Other activities for kids include making Christmas cookies and ornaments. According to Hays, the goal is to raise $20,000.

The money will go to build a safe house in Haiti for female victims of sexual violence. The mission to build the safe house has been ongoing for Hays since 2012 when she started Nadege, Inc. The nonprofit already has land in Haiti with a 10-foot security wall built around the property.

The land has been cleared, and the next step is to start the building process for the safe house, which will be able to house up to 12 women who will be referred to Nadege through connections the nonprofit has in Haiti. After a successful Restore Gala fund raiser in September, construction of the safe house is set to begin. Funds raised from Breakfast with Santa will go toward operating the safe house and hiring staff in Haiti.

Hays is hoping construction will be done by next November, with the facility able to open in early 2019. She thanked the Kokomo community for its ongoing support of her mission to provide safer lives and hope to women in Haiti. “People in Kokomo have played a huge role. I’m blown away by the way this community just backs a cause. There are a lot of causes in Kokomo, so when we started I didn’t know how we were going to raise the money. But I would say, for the most part, money raised has been raised from Kokomoians. We’re really grateful for that,” Hays said. Tickets for Breakfast with Santa are $10 pre-sale or $12 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at www.nadegehaiti.org. The event takes place at Oakbrook Church, 3409 S. 200 W., from 9 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 9.

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