Putnam Rotary Club Donates Cash Register to Haiti Group

PUTNAM --- A random conversation between two people, followed by another light conversation between two people resulted in a spark to a women's group for development in Haiti.

Pam Brown, a member of the Putnam Rotary Club, recently traveled to Haiti with the nonprofit group, Roots of Development as part of a 10-person team. The 10 visited  the village of Gran Sous. Group members met with several groups working to raise the standard of living in the village.

One of the groups was the Women's Group for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous (GFDAG). The group has a community business that buys products in bulk in Port-au-Prince and then resells the items at a lower price. The items are then more accessible to the poor and the business creates employment for local women and the revenue from the business will reduce the dependence the women's group has on outside funding for its development projects, Brown said.

After one year in  business, Brown said, the group remains open six days a week and bring in an average of $7,500 (U.S.) per month.  "Most of the profits are reinvested into business development or used to keep vulnerable and orphaned children in school. GFDAG is looking to expand to a larger facility with better security and solar-powered electricity to keep up with growing demand," she said.

Brown got into a discussion with the women and saw that the women kept the money at the store in a drawer. Money was not sorted and it was not accounted for until the end of the day.

When Brown returned, she was telling the story about the way cash was handled to Fred and Rande Chmura at a Rotary function. She wondered aloud if there was such a thing as a battery-operated cash register.  Fred Chmura looked it up and saw that there was. He obtained one for Brown's Haiti project and the Putnam Rotary Club, feeling it was a good cause, purchased a second one.

The two battery-operated cash registers will be personally delivered by a member of the Roots organization.

Donations for battery charger, rechargeable batteries, traditional batteries and register tapes are being sought. Donations may be sent to the Putnam Rotary Foundation, PO Box 263, Putnam, CT 06260. Please put "Haiti" in the subject line. Those wishing to help may also go to Roots of Development's website at

Brown said, "Until you haver personally experienced Haiti, nothing can prepare you for the sheer poverty and lack of infrastructure in the country. But the people there are beautiful, caring and very resilient. They want to be able to help themselves and Roots is giving them the opportunity to do so. I am so grateful to join my fellow Rotarians in Putnam to support them and the work they do."