Islanders rally to provide Nepal relief funds

May 10, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

Explore +
Jacy Rock in Nepal, April 2015 | Photo by Garret Rock

Jacy Rock in Nepal, April 2015 | Photo by Garret Rock

Days before the devastating earthquake in Nepal, I enjoyed Facebook updates and breathtaking photos of a high school friend’s mountain trekking excursion there. The moment I heard about the earthquake, I rushed back to my computer and scanned her Facebook page to try to learn about her whereabouts.

Thankfully she had just returned home to attend a law school reunion. She later shared a photo with friends along with the post: “Especially grateful for the friendship of these amazing women today, as it both: (1) got me through law school (10 years ago!!); and (2) ensured that I was in Minneapolis to see them this weekend, and not in Nepal.‪#‎prayfornepal‬.”

I was thankful that my friend was home safely, but I read other heartbreaking stories of local climbers in Nepal who did not survive the devastation, which has now claimed over 8,000 lives. Two 19-year-old women from Seattle are still missing.

While my connection to Nepal is vicarious through a friend via social media, other Islanders have closer connections, including MIHS 2011 graduate Taylor Caldwell, who attends Pitzer College in southern California. Pitzer has a long-standing study abroad program in Nepal, sending students to live with host families and learn the country’s culture and language.

Caldwell is now rallying Islanders to support a Pitzer College fundraising relief effort.  Maria Bliss, owner of Yogabliss, was moved by Caldwell’s Letter to the Editor in the Mercer Island Reporter and has joined the cause. She is now gathering donations that will go directly to the Pitzer in Nepal program. Short-term use of funds includes emergency food, water, and medicine; long-term use of funds includes rebuilding homes.

Help-for-NepalIf  you would like to join this local fundraising effort, there are two ways to donate:

1. Write a check made out to Pitzer Emergency Relief Fund.  Bring it to Yogabliss, and they will add it to their collection to be sent to Pitzer College.

2. Donate online. (Email Yogabliss at [email protected] if you would like your donation to be included in the tally of Islanders’ contribution to the Nepal Relief Fund.)

Additional, the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church is hosting an upcoming concert, America: Faith and Freedom, with donations benefiting another Disaster Relief Fund for Nepal. Breathe of Aire, a Pacific Northwest choir featuring performers from all over the state, will perform favorite patriotic and spiritual music such as The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, You Raised Me Up, Amazing Grace, and more. Suggested donation is $10-20.

Related reading:
MI Reporter: Taylor Caldwell’s Letter to the Editor
MI Reporter: Maria Bliss’s Letter to the Editor