ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (CBS) — We will never forget the images of the earthquake that struck Haiti at the beginning of the year.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, days after the quake hit, a megachurch based in Rolling Meadows spearheaded an international movement, called “Churches Helping Churches.” The program raised nearly $3 million for relief in Haiti.
But that’s not all. In a couple of weeks, the movement is organizing what might be the largest gathering in Haiti since the earthquake.
The images and sounds of Jan. 12, 2010, are seared in the world’s collective mind. The piercing cries of desperation and the pictures of children next to shambled homes moved those who knew little about Haiti to care.
Just days after the earthquake, it took one Sunday service at Harvest Bible Chapel to compel thousands of people to give.
Under the pastoral leadership of the five-campus megachurch based in Rolling Meadows came Churches Helping Churches, which now has a relationship with Haiti.
“What’s great to see is Chicago coming together; 38 churches who have jumped on board, not just to build our own city, but to build a city less fortunate and haven’t had the opportunities,” said executive director Thomas Kim.
Kim said 275 churches across the world have given $2.7 million. In the last year, the money has gone directly to churches in Haiti, to help empower and rebuild.
“The biggest problem in Haiti is not the immediate influx of money, but the building of infrastructure and capacity, and that takes time,” Kim said.
On the anniversary of the earthquake that killed an estimated quarter of a million people, Kim and his team will hold a memorial service outside the palace in Port-au-Prince
“The mayor already gave us signed document committing the place to us, and the police,” Kim said.
With the help of UN soldiers and Haitian police, they expect 30,000 people to attend.
What are the people expecting at the memorial?
“To have faith,” Kim said.
One nail at a time, Churches Helping Churches, is laying a foundation in Haiti that it hopes will multiply.
“Our hope is someday that we’d have thousands of churches ready to respond the Sunday after an earthquake or hurricane or when a crisis hits, that we could respond immediately,” Kim said.
The church plans to stream the memorial live on the Web. To watch it on Jan. 12, go to ChurchesHelpingChurches.com.