Mission Statement: Mission Haiti experiences the vitality and love of Jesus Christ by reaching out beyond our community and sharing Christ’s presence in the impoverished communities of Haiti.
Mary Mather Nally – 626.641.2840
Mission Haiti – Sea Container Update – April 26, 2022
Good News! Just as we were about to unload the container and give its contents to local charities, we were granted passage and the container is on its way to Haiti! It is full of items that Fr. Tom is eager to have such as a generator, thousands of dollars of medical supplies, and lots of food (canned tuna, chicken, tomato sauce as well as rice, beans, powdered milk and peanut butter).
Mission Haiti, Easter – April 17, 2022
There are many wonderful family traditions surrounding Easter. Both in America and in Haiti, more families than usual attend church services and are likely dressed in their Sunday best – little girls in frilly dresses and bonnets, young boys in matching shorts and sweaters.
While we in America celebrate Easter with bunnies, colored eggs, brunches of ham, waffles and lots of candy, Easter in Haiti is often celebrated with traditional meals of fish and rice, white beans and beets and by making and flying kites. Paper kites can be bought in Haiti but traditionally children make them. In the slums, children create their kites with whatever they can find, such as plastic bags, scraps of fabric and sticks. Degagé is a common saying in Haiti that means to make do with what you have, and they do!
Wherever they may live, while running to fill their baskets with colorful eggs and candy or flying their kites and watching them in the sky carried by the wind, we can imagine the joy of children. Our prayer is that as part of their traditions, they are taught about the true meaning of the day, Christ who died but was raised to life for all of us. Easter is a time of joy and of gratitude.
With God’s Blessings to all of You.
Mission Haiti, Mobile Clinic – March 27, 2022
As you know, most poor Haitians do not have access to medical care. Hands Together operates several clinics in the slums and they have a mobile clinic that goes into neighborhoods where there are no clinics. They recently bought a large, second hand truck that they are converting into a new mobile clinic. Hopefully by the time the current container reaches Haiti with thousands of dollars of medical supplies, the truck will be ready to roll!
Mission Haiti, Girl Scouts – March 13, 2022
In early December three Girl Scouts from troop 5371, Michaela Aston, Itzel Iniguez and Natalia Mata, their leader Giselle Aston and helper Bertha Copeland joined some of our volunteers and presented them with over 55 beautiful dresses, ribbons and feminine hygiene products that they made for Haitian girls. Their efforts were part of their Silver Award project. The girls helped our volunteers carefully wrap the items into cartons, apply labels and place them in the container. The precious gifts will be given to girls at the Santa Chiara Children’s Home operated by our friend and former Holy Family parishioner Gerry Straub. Many thanks to Michaela, Itzel and Natalia for using your talent and time to create beautiful treasures for our kids in Haiti. Thanks also to Giselle, Bertha and the girls’ moms for your involvement! This project began shortly before a Covid lockdown but the girls persisted and completed their work at home.
Congratulations girls on your award and many thanks for your kindness!
Mission Haiti, Sea Container Repurposed – February 27, 2022
Cite Soleil is located next to the sea. Many, many years ago it was a beautiful place. Today it is truly a garbage dump. With no services, poor Haitians sweep their garbage into piles trying to maintain order in their neighborhoods. Women and children are tasked with doing this. It is an unending chore because of the rain. Hills border part of the slum. More fortunate people live uphill and they discard their waste over the cliffs into the valleys. When it rains, garbage rushes from these neighborhoods and crowded downtown areas into canals that cut through the city. As the water rises, it carries a wall of trash and excrement into Cite Soleil. Alleyways flood, shacks flood.
A team member of Hands Together, Evans, whom you may have met on Zoom Masses, came up with a brilliant idea. When the slum floods, people still need to walk through the streets to the markets on higher ground as without refrigeration in their shacks they must shop every day. Evans decided that a sea container could be used as a thoroughfare through the deep water. They constructed an elevated structure of cinder blocks and will place containers on top of it after having removed the upper sides. People will be able to walk through to the marketplace without walking through water and garbage. Imagine that!
All of our containers, many of them donated, have come from Martin Container Inc., the leading dry storage container provider on the West Coast. Through the years, they have been wonderful to work with and they have been extremely generous. Nick Martin and his sons Ken and Charlie, may never have imagined such a new life for their containers. Many of the containers previously sent have been used for storage units at the various compounds. Who knows? More and more elevated passageways might be built. Perhaps we could call them Martin’s Safe Crossings.
Mission Haiti, Black History Month – February 13, 2022
February, Black History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in US history. We should not talk about freedom and equality without talking about Haiti, the world’s first country to abolish slavery. As supporters of Haitian people through Mission Haiti, let’s recognize the ways in which African Americans fought for their freedom, as well as Haitians, who separated by only 300 miles of ocean, served as a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength for all those fighting for change.
The foundation of Haiti, from slave rebellion to the establishment of a republic based on democratic values, is evidence of the strength and resilience of the Haitian people. It is a testament to the fact that together we can move mountains. This month, as we celebrate Black History Month, let’s remember that Black history is also Haitian history.
Mission Haiti, Sea Container – February 6, 2022
The first sea container of 2022 is on its way to Haiti. Because of the seemingly endless violence, survival of her people is the current focus of Hands Together. Fr. Tom insisted that what is sent on the container be only that which is essential to life. So, thanks to your support we purchased and packed only those items he felt are urgently needed and deemed vital. Among the gifts are two generators, thousands of pounds each of beans, rice, canned tuna, canned chicken, peanut butter and perhaps not life sustaining but certainly good for boosting the flavor of the otherwise simple meals, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. In addition, thousands of dollars of medical supplies are also on their way to the clinics – bandages, gauze, suture materials, cleansing solutions, over the counter medications and simple ointments.
We owe a huge round of applause to Bennett Nelson who organized this complicated project. Meeting weight restrictions, monitoring measurements, paying meticulous attention to paperwork details for shipping and customs requirements, handling logistical incidents with a determined and calm manner was all carried out by Bennett. Without him, this would have taken months. Chris Connolly is another key player who worked out a great deal with Smart and Final and fine-tuned the orders until we got it right. Paul McAndrews generously donated requested medical supplies and Carewell Family, Inc. was professional and helpful in the ordering process of many bulk items. Heartfelt thanks to each of you. We offer continued gratitude to the faithful volunteers who helped with packing including our very own, 20-year supporter of Mission Haiti, Ken Dunkel, who is always there to help with his heavy equipment. We could not do it without each of you!
Please pray for the safe journey of this container and ease in the recovery of the goods once they reach Haiti.
Mission Haiti, COVID & Violence – January 30, 2022
The last year was a difficult one for the students and staff of the Hands Together schools. Covid and violence forced Fr. Tom to close the schools for more days than they were open. We are hopeful that this will not be the case in 2022. The schools not only offer food and education, but for many they are the only place that provides protection from the violence in the neighborhoods. For a number of years Fr. Tom offered a feeding and very basic classroom program for children who were not enrolled in school. He called this, “The Barefoot Kids Program.” He has ramped up this concept recently as there are now more and more kids wandering the streets unattended. HT is now giving the children clothing and shoes and are integrating them into classrooms with the other students. Student mentors are assigned to work with the children. “This is a positive way to teach that we all possess the same value and dignity that comes from God and we are all responsible for the well-being and success of those around us.” Fr. Tom recently met with a group of parents whose children, some as old as 14, had never gone to school. “While speaking with these parents, I saw a look of hope and gratitude in their faces.” Fr. Tom estimates there are as many as 1,000 children that they have brought in during the last month.
Hope for Haiti
Hope for Haiti video – 2013– Hope for Haiti is an eight minute film focusing on the hope that Hands Together brings to troubled Haiti. Produced in 2013, Hope for Haiti underscores the positive impact that the De Wine schools are having in the slum of Cite Soleil, the sense of community being built with the elderly, and the dedication expressed by young Haitian farmers to rebuild their country.
Hands Together – video
Mission Haiti supports the many outreach projects of Hands Together including education, agricultural production, water well drilling, vocational training, small business opportunities and charitable aid.
Images and Dreams
Images & Dreams: Mission Haiti – A video report on the rebuilding progress in Haiti, September 2012 and the involvement of Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena, California.
Rising from the Ashes
“Rising from the Ashes” is a 10 minute video produced with the help of Karl Holtsnider and Ken Buckowski from Holy Family. It details the devastion from the earthquake to HT projects and the rapid response and rebuilding accomplished in the short time since the January 12th disaster.
Click here to view Rising from the Ashes.