Made to Love: Hamilton nonprofit benefits Haitians

Mission trip served as inspiration for local residents.

On the surface, Made to Love on Hamilton’s High Street may look like any one-stop shop for clothes, home goods and food. But Made to Love, a nonprofit, was uniquely created with a special goal: To benefit Haitian citizens.

Made to Love was officially founded in August 2015 by Tony Harris, his wife Christine, and their friend Shari Miller, but the inspiration was much farther back in time. It was inspired by a mission trip to Haiti in 2010, after the catastrophic earthquake in January of that year. The team wanted to raise funds for Haitian children to go to school, so they began selling T-shirts in craft shows. The endeavor was so successful that they felt compelled to expand.

From the beginning, they knew they didn’t want to give handouts to the Haitian people, but rather opportunity. For this reason, many of the items sold at Made to Love — from jewelry to coffee to home décor and more — are handmade by Haitian artisans. Made to Love is a nonprofit, with no paid staff in the United States. The funds all go toward employing artisans and teachers in Haiti.

“The goal is to create jobs through the items we sell,” Tony Harris said. “Jobs and education are hard to come by in Haiti. We felt this would be a sustainable way to help people.”

The past few years have been a challenging time to run a small business. Additionally, Harris said, there has been increased need in Haiti due to unrest by gangs in the capital city. For this reason, Harris and the rest of the team have been trying to increase donations and grants to cover school costs. The impact on the people Made to Love helps is worth the cost and the challenge.

“We felt this name epitomized what we do and what we are doing,” Harris said. “We are made to love others, and the items we are selling are made with love.”

Made to Love is located at 209 High Street in Hamilton. It’s closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays and open from noon to 6 p.m. from Wednesday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

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