All of us watched with concern as Hurricane Maria moved across the Caribbean, once again putting Haiti in the bullseye of a natural disaster. Fortunately, this time the storm did not make a direct hit on Haiti and our sister parish in Boucan Carre. While the 130 mile per hour winds did extensive damage in nearby Dominican Republic, Haiti escaped the worst of the storm. More than twenty inches of rain downed power lines and left many towns and villages cut off from roads, but we are thankful our partners in the Central Highlands of Haiti did not suffer the level of destruction experienced in recent years from similar storms.
Here in Knoxville our Haiti Outreach Program has been preparing for the 15th Annual Medical Banquet, the year’s most important fundraising effort for our work in Haiti. The banquet is a casual affair with the twin goals of introducing our projects to first-time visitors and expressing our thanks for the generous support from so many at Sacred Heart and the greater Knoxville community. Donations from the event fund a large portion of the support for our sister parish St. Michel, for teachers and 1,300 students in the primary and secondary schools in Boucan Carre, and for our medical clinic in the village of Bouly. Working in partnership with St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish in Tabb, Virginia, since 2000 the Sacred Heart program has developed into one of the most robust outreach efforts in Haiti.
This year’s medical banquet will be held on Saturday, October 7, at 6:30 pm at Sacred Heart School. The banquet’s theme will be “A Mediterranean Evening” and feature a variety of Mediterranean food and music provided by program volunteers. Reflecting an effort to attract young people to our mission, the short program will include students who have been to Haiti to see first-hand the country’s enormous challenges as well as the possibilities made possible by the sustained support of the Knoxville community.
As always, admission to the banquet is free. Our goal is to introduce as many people as possible to our mission. The simplicity of the event’s location and program reflects an effort to minimize costs and maximize the funds available for our projects. Our program has no administrative costs, meaning that every dollar raised at the banquet goes to support our mission.
If you would like to attend, please send an rsvp to Sonya Mire at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to welcome you and acquaint you with some of the great things taking place in Haiti. If you would like to learn more about our work, please visit our website at haitioutdreachprogram.com
The next meeting of the Haiti Outreach Program will be Thursday, October 5, at 6:30 in the library of Sacred Heart School.