Don’t Throw Out That Old Tent!

With spring and summer just around the corner many people will be buying new outdoor recreation equipment like tents. But before you throw out your old one, listen to this. Bill Stamps reports how it could benefit the people of Haiti.


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People in Houston know all about rain, but few know what its like to actually sleep in it. That’s what happening to the tens of thousands of earthquake victims in Haiti. So Houston resident Harland DeWitt came up with an idea.

“It just occurred to me that there had to be a lot of tents in Houston that probably are rarely used and many of which will probably never be used again, so they’re just collecting dust. And there you look at Haiti and there’s a massive need for shelter. And the rainy season starts in April, but it’s beginning early this year. You literally have thousands and thousand of people sleeping out in the rain.”

Since the January 12th earthquake, tens of thousands of Haitians have been living in large camps scattered around the capitol, Port-au-prince. Their homes were left uninhabitable by the quake, some may be able to be repaired others may not. Even the tent cities have been called health risks, but in the meantime, DeWitt, along with help from family members, is doing his best to make sure the refugees at least have temporary shelter.

“I actually don’t own a tent. How ironic is that? But we did decide to take donations, those donations will be used only to purchase tents, so if you don’t have a tent or you have a tent you’re not ready to give up and you want to give ten bucks. Hey that’s great. That still contributes to sheltering all these hundreds of thousands of Haitians who are homeless and living in the rain right now.”

Haiti’s rainy season is just getting underway and that’s one of the reason’s the government is trying to reduce the number of people living in camps. The United Nations would like them to go back home…saying it’s better to live in a tent on your own land than in the camps. But for now they have no where else to go and Dewitt just wants to do whatever he can to help.

“My initial impulse was to go over and does something like so many other people have done. My wife and six month old child had some objections to that.”

So he’s taking tent donations and if you have one to donate, you can go to his website at

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