Recently, Presentation Associate Rose Norton informed the New Windsor Presentation Sisters about a project of the Haitian Outreach working to prepare backpacks for six schools in Haiti. She explained that a religious community in several areas of Haiti operate the schools. Children cannot go to school unless they have sponsors, supplies, and shoes. This group of volunteers works to prepare backpacks with needed supplies.
When Rose talked about the project at our meeting, we had the opportunity to sign up to help. Sister Pat Dowler & Paula Cormier joined with 17 associates to help with the backpacks. The backpacks contained what was needed for children of all ages (school supplies, personal needs such as soap, shampoo, food, clothing, and shoes). The shoes were the last items to be put into the packed backpacks as that is a great need, especially because they walk long distances to go to school.
This group helps to get sponsors for children. Sponsors contribute $200 for a year for a child to go to school: $100 goes to tuition, $60 goes to backpack supplies and the other $40 goes to other needs. No one is paid and every penny goes to the project needs. As we worked during the day, several of our volunteers were considering sponsoring a child and several offered to go again to help the group finalize the bins for shipping.
It was a meaningful day for everyone and the Haitian Outreach volunteers thanked us many times. They were so grateful for all the help.
As we concluded our time together, we gathered both sisters and associates and prayed the Presentation blessing on the Haitian Outreach volunteers. Our experience will not end with this summer. When they find a more permanent place to work from, we will help with supplies and be a part of this on-going project.
Please pray for all those who are doing great work and for the children and families who benefit from this. Also, pray for the schools and the sisters who run them in this country that has struggled with violence and severe storms. May we all become more aware and responsive to those who have so much less than we do.