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.

Click here to watch the Current Haiti Video


Contact Information:

Mary Mather Nally – 626.641.2840

Bulletin Articles

Mission Haiti, News – March 5, 2024

A message from Doug Campbell 

What God will I follow?
     “It’s easy for God to ask me to follow His way … it’s easy for Him, because He’s God. But I am not God, I am a human being. It’s really hard for me. I used to use that as an excuse not to try at all. I can no longer do that because repeatedly God shows me that I won’t be alone and our struggles will be completely understood. Our God has shown us that He is suffering along with us. It’s a bit like wanting to take the pain from my child when she tore her ACL playing soccer, I would have done anything to save her from the excruciating pain. This helps me understand how God allows pain and suffering, but does not allow us to go through it alone. 

God loves us and there is nothing we can do about it.”
Times in Haiti are extraordinarily difficult, the worst they have ever been.  Men, women and children are starving in the streets.  Wild, dangerous people are ruling the land.  They have no respect for life.  They are broken and they are causing tremendous pain wherever they travel.  No outside help is coming.  Haiti and her people are living in hell.  God is suffering in Haiti.  Please keep the people in your prayers.  They need us.
The Mission Haiti Committee

Mission Haiti, News – February 13, 2024

As previously mentioned, the Hands Together high school has been dedicated to Bishop David O’Connell who was killed last year. Bishop Dave was a great supporter of the work of Hands Together and a friend of Fr. Tom’s. The school standards are high. A few years ago 30 students participated in a national scholastic contest and they were the first place winners. Part of the responsibility of all of the students is participation in the 60 acre agricultural project where they actively cultivate and grow crops. There are 1020 students in the Bishop David O’Connell school. Funds from the Holy Family Mission Haiti annual appeal support running the school. The budget for one year is approximately $300,000. We are grateful for your generous gifts.

Mission Haiti, News – February 7, 2024

Please use the following for the bulletin.

Hands Together has dedicated their high school to the beloved Bishop David O’Connell who was murdered last year in Los Angeles.  Bishop Dave was a friend to Hands Together.  Your donations from our last annual appeal will help with the operations of this school.  The school is the only tuition free high school in the country.  You make this possible.  In addition to education, the school functions as a gathering place for the community’s elderly where various classes are taught and the people are fed.  It also provides drinking water for several thousand people each day.  People walk from miles around carrying buckets which they fill from the school’s water pump.  Recently Hands Together formed a partnership with Medecin San Fronter, Doctors without Borders.  They use the school as a clinic.  

This facility is a multi purpose structure!  Hands Together is using it to its fullest.  Their work is life saving.  More about the Bishop David O’Connell high school in future articles.  

Mission Haiti, News – November 15, 2023

Dear parishioners,
Thank you for your support of Mission Haiti since the appeal weekend November 11-12.  Your generosity and kindness towards Fr. Tom and Doug are very much appreciated.  We just heard from Fr. Tom.  Sadly, he shared the following:

On Saturday, Ysca, the gang leader in the Bellecau section, died mysteriously of a gunshot wound. This has caused great violence throughout Cité Soleil with intense shooting. There have been many deaths. We were forced to close all of the schools and shut down the projects.

I am very sad, as I worked hard to maintain an ongoing relationship with Ysca. I met with him on Friday morning, and we had a good meeting. Afterwards, as I always do with every gang leader, I blessed him with the sign of the cross. The peace agreement, which we worked hard to create, is now shattered.

I ask for your prayers.

God bless,

Fr. Tom 

Mission Haiti, News – October 3, 2023


Education consists in forming man as a person in the right sense of the word.  A person must be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions.  Therefore, the main concern of education is to help the young person to be more, that is, to grow as a person.

Pope John Paul II

We are so pleased that the Hands Together Schools are open and thousands of children have returned.  Their minds will be challenged and their bodies fed.  They will thrive.

Mission Haiti, News – September 25, 2023

Despite the continued violence in the surrounding areas, the Hands Together schools are scheduled to resume in October.  The peace treaty instituted by Fr. Tom is still being honored, having reached the three month mark.  Pedagogy will be emphasized this school year with a new program.  Each morning, every student in all grades will gather in small groups to practice critical thinking and partake in discussions about life.  Community service will also continue with all grades participating in services for the elderly.  The elderly will continue to come to the schools for a meal and interaction with the students.  They will also be invited to attend certain classes.  Each afternoon all students will be required to engage in cleaning the facilities, learning the importance of caring for that which you have and the environment.  Team work is always emphasized.  

Please pray for the staff and students.  May this be a year where the community of Hands Together can thrive and grow.  May peace be realized.

Mission Haiti, News – August 14, 2023

In the slum of Cite Soleil, thanks to Fr. Tom and his team’s continued efforts, the wee ones are surviving with food provided by Hands Together, the youth are thriving in the Hands Together schools, and the young adults are striving for excellence under the ongoing encouragement of the support they receive from all of you at Holy Family.  It is in the hearts and souls of the young that we who observe from the outside, cannot deny hope.

Please keep Fr. Tom and his staff, Haiti, her people and especially the youth in your hearts and prayers.

Mission Haiti, News – July 21, 2023

Some of you may have missed the recent article in the Miami Herald. Fr. Tom has had relationships with many of the gang leaders in Cite Soleil and Port au Prince for years. On many occasions in the past he has encouraged the leaders to halt all violence and allow families to live in peace. He has been successful many times but as you know, the truces are only temporary. Frustration and anger take over and tragedy ensues. Well, Fr. Tom recently did it again and there is now harmony on the streets. The leaders of four gangs in Haiti who are responsible for gang rapes and the deaths of hundreds of Haitians in Cite Soleil, have called a truce and say they want peace. Fr. Tom witnessed them signing a document that among other things stated, “We promise our loving God to work hard to end violence, to bring peace to all people.” Fr. Tom said the people are out on the streets and pursuing activities of daily living without fear. “There is a little bit of hope now.” Fr. Tom’s meetings with these leaders are dangerous and tensions run high. Please continue to pray for his safety. To our knowledge, he is the only person willing to work with these men and through his passion, wisdom and faith, they hear him. May they stay strong in their commitment.

Mission Haiti, News – June 30, 2023

“Education is the gateway to the soul;  it opens up our minds and hearts to the wonders of truth, goodness and beauty.”  St. John Henry Newman

Please keep the students, teachers and school staff in your hearts and prayers.  With the summer break the children have no place to experience safety or nourishment beyond what their parents can provide.  For the summer, the buses will be used to transport food and supplies to the poor, driven by men who risk their lives providing this great service.  God bless them.

Mission Haiti, News – May 31, 2023

I wanted to let you know that both Fr. Tom and Doug have been struggling with health issues.  Fr. Tom is in Haiti now but has been suffering with a pinched nerve which hinders his ability to walk well.  He is on the mend but it will take time to resolve.  Doug, as some of you may know, was diagnosed several years ago with heart failure.  Although serious in nature, it is a condition that one can live with if appropriately treated.  His cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic has requested that he take time off from work for a couple of months.  Perhaps this forced respite will not only heal their bodies but be a time of reflection and rejuvenation.  David Darling will maintain operations in the States and Evens will do the same in Haiti.  ~ Mary Nally, chair of Haiti Ministry

Mission Haiti, News – April 7, 2023

Thanks to your generous and ongoing support of Mission Haiti, we were able to send another significant check to Hands Together.  It was an Easter gift wrapped in blessings and prayers from the hundreds of parishioners who remain faithfully committed to the work Hands Together is doing in Haiti.  The situation in Haiti seems insurmountable but Fr. Tom, Doug and Evens do not stop.  So much important work is going on day after day.  We applaud Fr. Tom and his teams’ continued efforts.  Thank you Holy Family for your passion, commitment and your prayers for the tens of thousands of people who struggle to survive in Haiti.

Mission Haiti, News – March 26, 2023

With the past year of unrest in and around Port au Prince, the Hands Together schools have been open only periodically. Happily, the schools are now open in full and the student population has steadily increased in the last month. Many families have fled the slums so building back up to past numbers will take time as new families will be found and invited to register their children in school. The schools are a safe haven for the students. We hope and pray that the numbers will continue to rise and children will be nurtured both physically and intellectually.
Please keep our students in your thoughts and prayers.

Mission Haiti, News – March 12, 2023

Mother Teresa said, “The poor anywhere in the world are Christ who suffers. In them, the Son of God lives and dies. Through them, God shows his face.” Please keep our Haitian neighbors in your hearts and prayers during this Holy Lenten season.

Mission Haiti, News – February 26, 2023
Sometimes sharing the news from Haiti seems repetitive and sad. Things are not much better this week than last week. All we can really do from here is pray to God, asking for relief for the poor, peace in the streets for those trying to deliver food and water to them, and determination for all of us trying to help. This prayer from St. Pio seems perfect.
“Heavenly Father, we remember and place before You the intentions of our poorest brothers and sisters. We ask You to bring comfort to the destitute and healing to those who suffer in body or spirit.
Help us to be instruments of Your love so that, following Your Son’s example, we may show compassion for the poor and neglected. May Your grace find expression in our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, clothe the naked, and seek justice for the oppressed. Help us, through your Holy Spirit, to turn sorrow and suffering into joy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who for our sakes became poor and lived among us.”

Mission Haiti, Continued Violence – February 19, 2023
As you know, the situation in Haiti is not improving. We heard graphic news from Gerry Straub, former Holy Family parishioner, founder of Santa Chiara, a home for abandoned children in Haiti. Wednesday, January 25th, six policemen were gunned down and killed in Port-au-Prince. Gang members attacked a local police station. A battle ensued. The police called for back-up to help keep the police station out of the hands of the gang members. Six officers were making their way to the area when they were ambushed. All six men were shot. They were transported to the nearest hospital to be treated. Gang members followed them and began firing on the hospital. When the police ran out of ammunition, the gangs entered the hospital and killed the six officers and took their bodies with them when they fled the hospital.

The following day police officers came out in force to protest the daily killing of policemen. They flooded the streets and blocked all the major intersections. Gangs are systematically killing the police to insure that they maintain a hold on the city. They have an abundance of cash to buy guns because kidnapping has proven to be a lucrative business for them. The gangs are better funded and have more ammunition than the police. The seven officers who were killed were part of a team of 30 in a battle with 150 gang members.

The police are angry at the lack of support from their leadership. They are protesting to get the bodies of the slain officers back so that they can properly bury them with honor.

In the meantime we can only imagine the terror of the people in the slums. How can they survive?

We pray for miracles. We pray for the safety of Fr. Tom, his staff, as well as, Gerry Straub and the large family of children whom he supports.
The Mission Haiti Committee

Mission Haiti, On Going Violence – January 29, 2023

There is ongoing violence in the streets of Cite Soleil.  A Hands Together student was recently shot and killed.  Such a tragedy is horrific in many ways.  The schools are safe havens for students most of the time.  But when a shooting occurs, families are afraid of leaving their homes so students miss out on meals, shelter and schooling.  It often takes weeks for “normalcy” to return.

Please continue to pray for peace in the New Year.

The Mission Haiti Committee

Mission Haiti, Dedicated Workers – January 15, 2023

There is a young man who is interested in pursuing medicine.  He is assisting one of the doctors treat patients who have been shot.  He is a graduate of one of the Hands Together schools.  It is encouraging that he wishes to return to the poor neighborhood he grew up in and give back.

It is nearly impossible to hire outside people to work in the violent slum districts.  Each year, Hands Together hires many of their graduates and provides them with training in a variety of jobs.  Hopefully, some of them will remain in the area and become dedicated workers.

Please continue to pray for these young people.

The Mission Haiti Committee

Mission Haiti, “Jwaye Nwel/Merry Christmas!” – December 25, 2022
We are so grateful for your generosity to Mission Haiti. Hands Together has received the funds you provided. Please be assured that 100 percent of each dollar goes directly to the mission. No administrative fees are taken from the total. Because of you, many people who would otherwise not have a Christmas meal will do so during their traditional Haitian evening called “Reveillon” which means “waking.” It is a time when they celebrate the awakening of Christ with a feast.

Fr. Tom, Doug, Evens, their staff and the Mission Haiti
committee members wish you peace and joy.

Mission Haiti, Humble Gratitude – December 2, 2022

Dear Parishioners,

It is with deep gratitude that I share with you that your generosity has been nothing more than life-saving.  With your gifts, thousands of people are continuing to be fed.  I was asked by a number of people recently why I didn’t give up on Mission Haiti because the situation in Haiti seems hopeless.  Fr. Tom has been asked the same question.  His response, “We cannot give up because the people have nobody else.  These are the people that Christ asked us to care for.  We have no choice.”  I stand with Fr. Tom.  With the support of this parish and the Grace of God, we continue saving lives.  We will not give up.  Hand in hand we go forward into this Advent Season with the promises of Christ.
With humble gratitude,
Mary Mather Nally
Mission Haiti
Mission Haiti, Appeal Thank You – November 15, 2022
Dear family and friends of Mission Haiti,
Your support, encouragement and generosity are so appreciated.  Please keep Fr. Tom, Doug and their entire staff in your prayers as they continue their work caring for those who desperately need our help.
God bless you.
Mary Mather Nally and the Mission Haiti Committee

Mission Haiti, Haiti Sunday is Next Sunday! – October 30, 2022

We are very much looking forward to having Fr. Tom Hagan and Doug Campbell join us at all Masses next weekend, November 5th – 6th. As you know, the situation in all of Haiti is dire but this is especially true in the slums where the poorest people are struggling to survive. Housing is deplorable, food and water is inaccessible, gang violence in the streets is the norm. Cholera has struck again. The warm welcome of our Holy Family community will be a boost to Fr. Tom and Doug as they share their efforts and perspectives with us. We hope you can join us!

Mission Haiti, The Companion Program, Part II – October 16, 2022
As shared with you last week, Fr. Tom is seeking a thoughtful and spiritual revival with all staff members, trustees, volunteers and people who support the work of Hands Together. He believes it imperative that Hands Together strengthen and affirm its spiritual dimension. He wishes to encourage people to make a deliberate decision to invite God to be part of their journey with the people of Haiti and Hands Together. For this reason, Hands Together is initiating “The Companion” program. Fr. Tom asks the following:

· Hands Together invites people of any religion who has faith in a loving God to prayerfully consider being a Companion.
· The Companion would choose to dedicate their life’s journey to their God.
· The Companion would agree to take the hand of their God as they travel through life.
· The Companion would agree to make every effort to take the hand of their fellow pilgrim in a spirit of genuine compassion.
· The Companion, following the spirit of the prophet Amos would make every effort to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly on their life’s journey.
· The Companion, if a Roman Catholic, would agree to participate in the Eucharist and to live the Eucharist as much as possible.
· The Companion would try to see the “visible Jesus” in every human being.
· The Companion would agree to pray daily the suggested short prayer given to them by Hands Together.
· The Companion would agree to spend five minutes each day in a quiet, still place in contemplative prayer, choosing a tranquil spot, saying little if any words, slowly breathing and allowing the mind to wander after simply saying, “Here I am, Lord, you take care of everything.”
· The Companion would agree to join all their fellow companions in a simple fast or abstinence from something for one day each week.
· The Companion would agree to offer two hours of service to others each month such as simply reaching out to a person who may be alone or appearing to be in need of some love and encouragement. This could be done by a visit, a phone call, a text or an e-mail.
· The Companion would agree to donate $100.00 each year to Hands Together to help purchase food for the very poor of Haiti.
If this is a hardship or if the Companion is a child, one could donate what they are able.

If you wish to join the family of Companions, please email David Darling, Director of Media and Communications of Hands Together at ddarling@handstogether.org.

God’s blessings.

Mission Haiti, The Companion Program, Part I – October 9, 2022

The following is a paraphrased version of a letter that Fr. Tom recently shared, providing some of the history that led to the idea of a new program.

In 1987, Fr. Tom took college age volunteers to Haiti to decide if they could provide assistance to the poorest of the poor. They made a decision to do so and began their work. Doug Campbell was one of the students. Very early on however, the student volunteers and Fr. Tom started to question their very presence in Haiti. They began to realize that they had a vertical approach in the way that they were helping the Haitian poor and that their presence may be toxic. Over the period of one year, they chose to discern the proper way to help the very poor prayerfully. They read and studied the book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. They often reflected on why they named their project “Hands Together.” They ultimately decided to be totally horizontal in their work with the Haitian poor. They began to look for and to affirm the linkages and commonalities that they shared with the people. They began to join hands not to dominate or to lead and not to follow, but to walk together and share as companions on the same journey. This philosophy significantly contributed to the spirit and soul of Hands Together.

The years passed and Hands Together experienced a great deal of success. This apparent success however also began to cloud the spirit of Hands Together. There was enormous pressure to hold ambitious fundraising events. Slowly it was apparent that success was measured by the amount of money raised in a given year. The year 2020 marked the beginning of the pandemic and with it came the realization that Hands Together had paid a high price for its success. There were now hundreds of projects helping tens of thousands of people. In difficult times, maintaining it all was overwhelming. How could they let go of some projects when so many people depended upon them? But the money was running low. In the struggle, there was a sense that something was missing and the original mission of Hands Together seemed unclear. There was too much to do, too many people to help.

Searching for answers, Fr. Tom and others realized that they were losing the importance of maintaining the side by side, hands together, horizontal approach to working with the poor. Perhaps they cannot run all of the projects. Giving the glory as well as the burdens to God needs to be first and foremost. Walking hand in hand with others in a human and spiritual manner is at the core of the mission. We need to gather together as a group in order to support the poor. We need to go back to the roots of the mission and discern. We need to pray.

Next week, we will share more about the new Companion Program.

Mission Haiti, Six Principles Governing Hands Together – October 2, 2022

In a recent board meeting the following principles were discussed. We thought you might be interested in them. From the beginning Fr. Tom has insisted that Hands Together operates under these rules.

Hands Together will always recognize the unique and sacred value of every human being. Hands Together recognizes that every human being is loved infinitely by our loving God.

Hands Together will not lead nor follow the very poor but will join hands as companions and partners.

Hands Together has deep Catholic-Christian roots with an ongoing respect for the Catholic social teachings. But, it must be made clear that Hands Together will serve people of all creeds, people of all nationalities, people of all races and persuasions.

Hands Together will make every effort to provide free services to all people. Hands Together will not request any financial payment for food, water, education or medical treatment. Yet, at the same time Hands Together seeks ways to affirm the dignity of the poor by requesting non-financial payment such as sweat equity or the sharing of talent and skills.

Hands Together must always give the preferential option for managerial jobs to the poor who live in the host country. For example, Hands Together would give a Haitian medical doctor the position of medical director before giving it to a doctor from the USA.

Hands Together will not partner with any other organization without the expressed approval of the board of trustees.

Mission Haiti, Gerry Straub’s Perspective – September 25, 2022

Many of you know Gerry Straub who operates Santa Chiara Children’s Center, a home for children, that is very near Fr. Tom’s compound. In reaction to the article we shared last week about the horrendous situation in Cite Soleil he responded with the following:

Of course, I knew all of this. I live with the reality of the turmoil and agony endured by most Haitians. The hardships of daily life for the Haitian poor are impossible to enumerate. So much of their time is spent hauling water to their shacks of a home. Women walking a long distance to refuel their heavy propane gas tanks needed for cooking. Nights in darkness thanks to no electrical power. Persistent hunger; nonexistent health care. Kids dying from diarrhea. No jobs. No gasoline. No toilets. The list is endless. A few hours after reading that report, a woman knocked on our gate. She was the mother of one of our girls, Ally. She recently fled the violence of Cité Soleil with two of her other children; they are living on the streets near the sea. The mother walked four or five hours to reach Santa Chiara; she left the two children behind. Five or six other women, most of whom are the mothers of children living at Santa Chiara, have come to us looking for help. We will find lodging for any woman fleeing Cité Soleil that has any connection to SCCC and we will pay their rent for at least one year.

These poor people are ignored by the world. Thank you former Holy Family parishioner Gerry and thank you Holy Family for your continued support. You make a difference in the lives of many of the forgotten families living in the poorest areas in Haiti.

Mission Haiti, Continued Chaos – September 18, 2022
Following is a descriptive paragraph published by an internet website called DailyChatter that is a summary of an article published by the Guardian.
Gang wars in Haiti have trapped thousands of people in a slum in the capital without food and water even as the Caribbean nation 
reels from a fuel shortage. Officials said fighting in Port-au-Prince’s notorious Cité Soleil slum has  left at least 89 dead and around 100 
wounded. Global medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders] urged criminal groups to allow aid to enter the 
district and to spare civilians. About 20,000 people have fled their homes since May because of gang warfare, according to the United 
Nations. Human rights groups described the situation in the streets as “a real battlefield,” as rival militias – some tacitly supported by 
the government and security forces – jostle for territory. Haiti has seen months of violent social unrest over fuel shortages: The rising 
violence has prompted the closure of petrol stations across the country. Because of a lack of electrical infrastructure, many Haitians 
rely on petrol to fuel generators that power homes and businesses. The recent gang wars and energy shortages have added to the list 
of woes plaguing the desperate Caribbean nation. 

Fr. Tom planned to meet with gang members this week to beg them to be reasonable and allow Hands Together to enter the slum with food and water.  Please pray for his safety and success on this mission of pleading with men who are acting in a desperate and violent manner.  And, of course keep the people in the slum in your heart and prayers.

Mission Haiti, Funding Report, Part Four – August 21, 2022

As you know from the last several weeks, Doug Campbell and Fr. Tom recently shared a report delineating where our donations are being spent.  Hands Together, recognizing the tremendous support from Holy Family, has specifically dedicated several projects to our community:   Monsignor Connolly School, Ti Desdunnes – Holy Family School, Holtsnider Barefoot Kids’ Project & The Holy Family Bridge.

The Holy Family Bridge is a life altering structure for the people living in Cite Soleil.  With frequent rainfall on the island, roads and passage ways rapidly become flooded making it not only uncomfortable for locals to walk but in fact it can be treacherous, not to mention filthy.  When it rains in the surrounding area, garbage and sewage flows from the mountains to the lower slum, dumping waste in the neighborhoods of the poor.  Drowning in the rapidly flowing water is not uncommon.  After several failed attempts at building a bridge over the sewage canals, Hands Together succeeded in building a large pedestrian bridge using one of the forty foot containers sent from Holy Family.  The idea was that of Brelhomme Evens, Director of HT Projects.  Laborers were all local men.  As many as 5,000 people now use the bridge to access the Drourard area in Cite Soleil.

This year, $74,000.00 of your donations were designated to this special project for cleaning up the area, rental equipment, materials and labor costs.  The bridge was dedicated in February.

Thank you Holy Family!

Mission Haiti, Funding Report, Part Three – July 24, 2022

As you know from the last posts, Doug Campbell and Fr. Tom recently shared a report delineating where our donations are being spent. Hands Together, recognizing the tremendous support from Holy Family, has specifically dedicated several projects to our community:  Monsignor Connolly School, Ti Desdunnes – Holy Family School, Holtsnider Barefoot Kids’ Project, The Holy Family Bridge.

The Barefoot Kids’ Project is near and dear to our hearts as it is dedicated to our beloved Karl and is a reminder of God’s command in Matthew when Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  In earlier years when we visited the Hands Together Schools, there were always children outside of the walled compounds looking in.  These street children were always barefoot, dusty and unsupervised.  It broke my heart.  On a later visit, we witnessed many of the same looking children being fed, seated on the floor inside the compounds.  And later still, Fr. Tom announced a new program honoring these children who were not only fed but were being placed in special classrooms.  With permission from their parents they too are able to attend school.  Fr. Tom adjusted the program in the last year or so and integrated the children into regular classrooms as he noticed that they were ostracized.  They are now assigned to students in the classrooms who are to act as their mentors and buddies, a benefit for both students.  When school is allowed to be open, the program is working well.  The Holtsnider Barefoot Kids’ Project operates in Cite Soleil.  I like the name but I pay tribute here to both Holtsniders, Kathy and Karl. Independently and together they have always held the most destitute children in their hearts and they served them in many wonderful ways throughout their lives.

This year, $28,000.00 of your donations have been designated to this special project. Thank you Holy Family!

Mission Haiti, Funding Report, Part Two – July 17,2022

As you know from last week we recently asked Doug Campbell and Fr. Tom where our donations were being spent. From the beginning of our relationship with Hands Together we designated our funds as being unrestricted, meaning that Fr. Tom and Doug could spend the money wherever they felt was most critical at the time, i.e. projects or perhaps disaster relief in the form of food, water, shelter, medical aid.
Hands Together, recognizing the tremendous support from Holy Family, has specifically dedicated several projects to our community: Monsignor Connolly School , Ti Desdunnes – Holy Family School, Holtsnider Barefoot Kids Project, The Holy Family Bridge
Holy Family School in the rural town Ti Desdunnes has 475 students in attendance. The school not only offers tuition free educations but also gives the students uniforms, school supplies and a daily meal. It has continued to pay teacher salaries and maintain the property even when the schools are closed due to violence or state mandates. This year, your donations totaled $69,000.00 that was dedicated in full to Holy Family School.
Fr. Tom and Doug are grateful for your generosity. Thank you Holy Family!

Mission Haiti, Funding Report – July 3, 2022

We recently asked Doug Campbell and Fr. Tom where our donations were benefiting the people of Haiti. From the beginning of our relationship with Hands Together, we designated our funds as being unrestricted, meaning that Fr. Tom and Doug could spend the money wherever they felt was most critical at the time, i.e. projects or perhaps disaster relief in the form of food, water, shelter, medical aid. Throughout the years when traveling to Haiti, we were shown in person flourishing projects funded by Holy Family. Since we have been unable to travel to Haiti in the last number of years, Doug has provided us with an accounting of money spent on the various projects. We will present this information over the next few weeks.
Hands Together recognizes the extraordinary support from Holy Family over the past 17 years. They have specifically dedicated several projects to the Holy Family community: Monsignor Connolly School, Ti Desdunnes Holy Family School, Holtsnider Barefoot Kids Project, The Holy Family Bridge

Beginning with the Monsignor Connolly School (K – 6) in the Bellicou neighborhood of Cite Soleil, $ 244,927 have been spent. This school is one of largest and most effectively run of all of the Hands Together schools. There are 850 students and 30 staff members. In addition, the elderly program held on campus feeds a daily meal and provides basic medical checks and care to 150 elderly people. This represents the largest percentage of your donations sent over the last year at 39 percent. Thank you Holy Family!

Mission Haiti, Excerpt from Reuters Article – June 5,2022

Haitian Jonas Joseph juggled running a busy hairdressing salon and a small bar in Port-au-Prince for five years, allowing him to provide for his young family. Then the gangsters took over. “I had to close my business and leave. The most important thing is my safety and that of my family. I’m now living with my cousin, I can’t find work,” said Joseph, 32, a father of two. “There’s only one activity left here: It’s gang activity.”
Joseph is one of thousands of small business owners who have been forced to close their businesses in the past year as rising gang violence and lawlessness cripples the economy of Haiti. Mobs dealing in extortion rackets, drugs and arms smuggling, and kidnappings for ransom have grown in power since the assassination of Haitian president in July 2021, creating a power vacuum that gangs have exploited. Criminal groups have become de facto authorities in significant portions of the country, with gang-controlled slum neighborhoods at the mercy of gun-toting bandits.
Fr. Tom claims that the violence is unprecedented. Sadly, Anos, a young man who worked for Hands Together for several years was recently shot and killed. His job was to drive the water truck into the slums several times each day delivering life-saving potable water to thousands. Several months ago, he insisted on being Fr. Tom’s early morning driver, delivering him to the nearby chapel of the Missionaries of Charity at 5:30 a.m. every day. Anos said, “Fr., We cannot allow you to be kidnapped.” On his way home from work last week, Anos was stopped by armed men who took his phone and checked his calls. Apparently, they determined that he was friendly to their enemies so they killed him. Please keep Anos, his family and all Hands Together employees in your thoughts and prayers.

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.

Images and Dreams:  Mission Haiti Appeal 2012

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.

Mission Haiti Appeal 2013

Dizzying Scope Mission Haiti Appeal 2014

Mission Haiti Appeal 2015

Adventures in Haiti 2016

It is Possible! 2017

Mission Haiti 2018

The Struggle 2019

Mission Haiti Appeal 2020

Mission Haiti Appeal 2021

Why? Create a Day Care Center for Poor Kids in Haiti

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