O riginally published on February 22, 2010 in the news section of Fuller Theological Seminary’s homepage. To read this article on fuller.edu, click here.

Love Fest for Haiti Organized by MFT Student
Festival and concert at local coffeehouse raises funds for Haiti relief

Despite intermittent rain showers on Saturday, February 6, over 300 Fuller students and members of the Pasadena community gathered at Jameson Brown Coffee Shop, a local coffeehouse run by Fuller students, for the Love Fest for Haiti fundraising event.  After the tragic earthquake in January, MFT student Leslie Mann participated in discussions with friends, faculty, and fellow students about the situation in Haiti and how best to help at this stage of relief.

Moved to action, Mann began to organize a benefit concert showcasing local talent to raise money for Little by Little, a nonprofit organization founded by the parents of another Fuller MFT student, Maggie Walsh. The agency provides ongoing healthcare and health education for the people of Gramothe, Haiti. Explaining her idea for a concert, Mann says, “Music has always been a deep means of healing in my own life and I was hoping to translate that into a practical form of healing for Haiti.”

An overwhelming and enthusiastic response to her initial idea caused the event to evolve from a benefit concert to an all-day festival. From ten o’clock in the morning until after ten o’clock at night, musicians performed one-hour sets, vendors such as Corridor of Hope sold goods to donate the proceeds to Little by Little, and various food trucks from the Los Angeles area sold food and donated a portion of their proceeds as well.

Mann admits that when she began to plan the event, she did not know what to expect, but was surprised and pleased at the response. “I was in awe of the talent and gifts that were contributed at the event,” she reflects. “I was inspired by the genuine sense of solidarity that was embodied through so many different kinds of people.”

The event was a success, raising over $2,000. And that amount is still increasing, as performances from the concert become available for purchase on iTunes and t-shirts and art are still on sale at Jameson Brown, with all proceeds going to Little by Little. For Mann, the Love Fest for Haiti was just a starting point. “I hope that people will continue to remember, pray, and give,” she shares, “so that we can empower and walk alongside those in Haiti for many years to come.”