Our efforts over the last month were focused on preparing for the 16th Annual Medical Banquet.  This year’s event attracted about 150 attendees. A special addition was the food prepared by the Hispanic Guild at Sacred Heart.  The food was accompanied by a singer and Hispanic music that provided the perfect atmosphere for the evening.

The banquet was hosted by Hallerin Hill, whose generous contribution of time over the years has been a tremendous asset.  The short program included a brief update on the previous year’s activities by Leslie Adams. She was followed by a video entitled “The Least of These,” which through a number of personal reflections captured high points of our mission since the first visit to Haiti in 1999.  This year’s speaker was Dan Hurst, CEO of StrataG. Dan’s message focused on the challenge of blending the demands of our daily lives with a commitment to undertake a sustained commitment to charitable works. StrataG reflects this culture in their effort to be viewed as both a successful company and a valued member of the community.

Everyone naturally wants to know how much money was raised at the banquet.  Given the large number of checks that come in after the banquet and follow-up conversations with other groups and individuals, it is impossible to provide a precise number.  With this caveat, the totals collected from checks, credit cards and cash total approximately $57,000. Our total costs for the banquet were only about $2,500, an excellent value considering the volume of food as well as the quality of the décor.  Our hope was to net $60,000, a reachable goal if we continue to bring in remaining donations.

Our thanks to everyone who pitched in to make the event possible, and to those whose generosity made it a success.  It is hard, to say the least, for a volunteer organization to host such a large event in an elementary school gym. Despite the obstacles, the donations will prove to make a lasting difference to our partners in Haiti.

Meanwhile, our efforts in Haiti continue.  Bill McDonald and Judy Townsend from our partner parish at St. Kateri recently returned from a trip to visit our two schools in Boucan Carre.  Bill and Judy spent considerable time exploring the feasibility of helping develop a program to teach sewing skills to the young women at the vocational school.  They visited another parish with a similar program and believe the idea is worth further conversations. The goal would be to train young people with a skill that they could later use to develop a small business.

Lastly, we continue our efforts to identify ways to reduce the cost of medicines at our remote clinic.  Jeff Keenan has been communicating with Food for the Poor and believes we may be able to obtain at least some of the medicines we need free of cost in Port au Prince, thus removing the need to import the drugs from overseas.  We will keep you posted.

December 15-22: Medical mission.  Dr. Drew Dirmeyer, 679-5444

Early February: Medical mission.  Dr. Dean Mire, 384-3391

March 18-22: Student mission trip.  Cindy Mire, 384-3392

Anyone interested in learning more about our program can visit our website at http://haitioutreachprogram.com.  Our next meeting will be Thursday, December 6, at 6:30 in the library of Sacred Heart School.

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