Idol Winner Takes Haiti Passion to Congress

“American Idol” victor tells of the horrors he saw on the earthquake-ravaged island.

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By Maura Judkis, Washington Whispers

The destruction in Haiti has dropped out of the news since February. But one unlikely source came to Washington to remind lawmakers to keep Haiti in their memories--recent "American Idol" winner Kris Allen.

Allen traveled with the U.N. Foundation to Haiti in February for 10 hours, where he handed out food and sang for women and children. He shared his experience with "American Idol" fans during the special "Idol Gives Back" program, for which he hosted a D.C. watch party at the Hard Rock Café.

"It was devastating. I've been to a lot of different places, but I've never seen destruction like that before," Allen told Whispers over dinner at Neyla restaurant in Georgetown on Wednesday. "There are no houses. That's the only picture in my mind that I have of Haiti--a bunch of rubble."

Haiti is not his only humanitarian mission. Allen also traveled to Rwanda to hand out free pairs of Toms Shoes. He even wore one pair to the dinner, which followed a whirlwind tour of D.C. for the singer. Earlier that day, Allen visited Washington's School Without Walls, a magnet school for gifted students, where he led a music class and talked about his travels. Then, he headed over to Capitol Hill, where he met with several Arkansas congressmen to remind them to keep Haiti on their priority list. Vic Snyder, Marion Berry, Mark Pryor, and John Boozman were among the lawmakers he spoke with. "I have seen their faces around Arkansas my whole life," said Allen.

"Not that these guys are going to forget about it, but it has fallen off in popularity," he said. "We want to make sure it's fresh in their minds."

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