1199SEIU Florida Healthcare Workers Donate to a North Miami Organization Providing Hope and Assistance for Haitian Immigrants and Local Residents

June 10, 2022


Healthcare workers, members of 1199SEIU Florida, wanted to help the community where many of them live and work. So, they made a donation of more than $26,000 to Sant La. The organization, which is based in North Miami, has been helping Haitian immigrants and residents in the community for more than 20 years.

"Since last year, our organization has helped over 1,000 Haitian migrants who came here with little more than the clothes on their back. Their stories are often heart wrenching, and their need is great. This donation will help us meet our mission to support and uplift new Haitian immigrants as well as longtime residents in our community,” said Gespie Metellus, Sant La's executive director.

Sant La typically assists between 10,000 and 15,000 residents in South Florida each year. It connects people in need with existing programs such as Medicaid/Medicare, early childhood services, rental assistance, tax preparation, legal services and more - all free of charge. The goal is to help stabilize and empower families. The organization has become a lifeline for residents in the community that’s why members of 1199SEIU wanted to offer their support.

"We’ve been hearing a lot about Ukraine and how the war has displaced millions from the war-torn country. But we also seem to have a Haitian crisis here and we wanted to do our small part to help. Too often our Haitian brothers and sisters are neglected and treated unfairly despite the desperate conditions many Haitians are facing back in the island nation,” said Dale Ewart, executive vice president of 1199SEIU.

Ewart and other members of 1199SEIU presented the check at Sant La’s new office in North Miami. For Jude Derisme, a Haitian American who is a Vice President at 1199SEIU, this donation has a special meaning.

“Like me, many 1199SEIU members are Haitian,” said Jude Derisme, Vice President at 1199SEIU. "We understand the hardships Haitian immigrants are facing. From violence to political unrest and natural disasters, it’s not surprising immigrants are leaving the island nation to come here. We hope this donation will help these brave souls get the resources they need to get on their feet and get on a path to a better life."