For every sack he records this season, including the two he already notched in Seattle's wins over the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril will donate money to build a house in Haiti, the Carribean country that was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew, a natural disaster that according to a recent Reuters report has claimed 1,000-plus lives.
"For every sack I get this year, including the two I already have, I will be donating to build a house in Haiti, especially in those areas that got flooded," Avril said after Monday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "Those houses can withstand through hurricanes, and earthquakes as well."
Avril, whose family is of Haitian descent and whose Cliff Avril Family Foundation helped rebuild and open an elementary school in Haiti just last month, has teamed with New Story Charity on the house-building effort, a project he was introduced to by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who also has Haitian roots.
"He reached out to me a few times about it and with the hurricane that came through I felt like it's only right to get involved," said Avril, whose own family resides on the north side of the island and therefore was not directly impacted by the hurricane. "I think if we all can get involved, all the Haitian players can get involved, I think we can actually have a whole community of those homes just built off what we're trying to do."
Each home, which as Avril said is capable of withstanding the types of natural disasters that impact the area, costs just $6,000. Avril said Dumervil has built roughly 25 homes in the area impacted by Hurricane Matthew and "all of them made it through." An added bonus of the house-building project, Avril said, is that each unit is built by locals using local materials.
"It's very important," Avril said. "But I think more so than just giving them a home, this process allows them to build the homes themselves and get some money from it as well. So you're kind of stimulating the economy as well. But as far as for the area, I definitely think they need the infrastructure. A lot of people are still living in tents because of the earthquake [in 2010]."
During an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday morning, Avril added that while building permanent homes and sustainable communities serves as a long-term plan for Haiti, the right-now plan involves providing aid and relief efforts for storm victims left without things like power, food, water, and medical assistance. Avril said the organization he trusts and who he's working with for help is Mission of Hope, which you can learn more about, including how to donate, right here.