St. Kateri Tekawitha, our partner parish in Tabb, Virginia, held their annual Run with the Son 5K race on December 2. The fun run is the parish’s largest fundraiser of the year, with all proceeds dedicated to supporting our education mission in Haiti. This year’s race enjoyed warmer than usual weather, which contributed to a large turnout of runners and spectators. Organized by Bill McDonald, Judy Townsend, Virginia Cotter and lots of other volunteers, the race attracted some 319 runners of all ages, a tremendous number for a small community.
The race generated more than $16,000 in donations. The funds raised by St. Kateri are a critical component of supporting the primary and secondary schools of St. Michel’s parish in Boucan Carre, Haiti. Money from this year’s race will be used to help sponsor more than 1000 students at the primary school, including a meal each day. The funds also help support approximately 250 students at the secondary school opened in 2011. The partnership between St. Kateri and Sacred Heart parish in Knoxville is one of Tennessee’s most successful Haiti outreach programs. Neither parish would be capable of supporting the program without the other. We all owe a debt of thanks to all those at St. Kateri who have contributed so much to the people of Haiti.
Here in Knoxville, the Haiti program was selected as the participant in the I Give Catholic initiative, an on-line effort to encourage charitable giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Approximately $1,775 was provided by generous donors. The funds will be used to purchase medicine for medical missions. Special thanks go to Father David Boettner and to Steve Coy for their help in making this happen.
On December 14, our group will take another medical mission to the remote chapels in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Our team will have three medical providers and will be the first all-female team from Knoxville to work in Haiti. A group of students from Catholic High School volunteered to help with the time-consuming task of counting and bagging medicines for the trip. The group will go for the first time to Guillaume, a tiny village located about a two-hour hike from Boucan Carre. As best we can tell, Guillaume has never had a doctor visit the village.
The team also will spend three days at our clinic in Bouly. The presence of American doctors always attracts a large number of patients from the surrounding mountains, some coming before daylight to be among the first in line. Unfortunately, there is currently an outbreak of cholera in the Bouly region. A temporary center for cholera patients has been established next to the clinic, so the team can expect large and chaotic crowds while in Bouly. We ask that you remember the medical team as you plan for the Christmas holidays.
The next meeting of the Haiti Outreach Program will be at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 7, in the library of Sacred Heart School. Those wishing to learn more about our program can visit our website at http://www.haitioutreachprogram.com.