The Haiti Outreach Committee’s most important fundraising effort of the year is the annual sponsorship drive for students at the primary and secondary schools in Boucan Carre. The Sacred Heart group is joined by our partners in St. Kateri parish with the goal of providing funds to pay for teacher salaries at the primary and secondary schools and for 22,000 meals each month at the primary school.
This year’s sponsorship drive at Sacred Heart was organized by Sonya Mire, who did a fantastic job of organizing the tasks of taking student pictures in Haiti, assembling the pictures by grade, and placing them in photo albums so they could be easily found by previous sponsors. Over two weekends, volunteers at each Sacred Heart mass collected about $55,000. These funds will be combined with about $50,000 raised at St. Kateri for our education outreach in Haiti. The donations, when combined with the fantastic contributions of St. Anselm parish in St. Louis for facilities at the primary school, have made the little town of Boucan Carre a beacon of education progress in one of the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished regions. Persons wanting to donate can do so online at haitioutreachprogram.com
Our hope is to build on this foundation by strengthening the skills taught to about 40 young women in the vocational program. The culinary skills currently taught at the school have helped some of the women find employment among the country’s sizable number of non-governmental organizations. In the months ahead St. Kateri and Sacred Heart will explore ways of expanding the vocational program to include other skills such as advanced sewing that could broaden employment opportunities for the young women in Boucan Carre.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to seek ways of raising the funds needed to continue our education and medical missions. Sarah Rouse organized “Haiti Night” at Balter Beerworks, a local Knoxville restaurant that provided ten percent of all proceeds to Haiti Outreach. A more ambitious effort will take place on June 7-9, when we have a rummage sale dedicated to Haiti. Persons can bring clothes, furniture and other items on June 3 that will be organized in the rooms of Sacred Heart School. Based upon preliminary discussions, there should be a great collection of items for sale. All funds generated from the sale will go to the Haiti Outreach Committee.
All of these fundraising efforts will be critical to sustain our current programs. Our annual budget exceeds $200,000, a daunting amount for a volunteer organization. Just a small percentage drop in donations would require cuts in our education and medical services. We are committed to continuing our efforts, but we also realize we must do so with a responsible, balanced budget.
Anyone interested in learning more about our program can visit our website at https://www.haitioutreachprogram.com. We welcome anyone who would like to attend our monthly meetings to join us on the first Thursday of each month at Sacred Heart School.