Departure for Haiti Draws Near!
In late 2014, a call went out on the Chalice website for volunteers “with a heart for service.” We didn’t need specialized skills or professional backgrounds, we were just called to love and serve. The resulting crew for the 2015 Homes for Haiti mission is a wonderfully diverse bunch from all across Canada, ranging from recent grads to retirees and a plethora of skills and interests.
A cohort of seventeen in total, we set our fundraising goal for the eight months leading up to the mission: $20,000 in funds, and fifty child sponsorships, plus whatever donations we wanted to bring with us in our suitcases. Because we were so spread out across the country, we didn’t coordinate a unified fundraising method, so it was up to each of us to determine our action plans.
Mary-Susan is a sewer, so she made “Scrap Catchers” (cloth bags that sit on the edge of the table for collecting scraps from crafts) that she’s sold at the craft fair and to her similarly-crafty friends. Sandra made more than one hundred rosaries to give away. The folks at St Mary’s parish in Ontario hosted a spaghetti supper. Kate took photos and guest-lectured on video techniques in return for donations. Several members of group collected troves of toothpaste, toothbrushes, school supplies, medical supplies, clothing, soccer gear and French children’s books to take with them to Jérémie.
Ben, a self-proclaimed nerd, scooped up 7 disused laptops from his workplace and set to work. He installed an easy-to-use, French operating system and then downloaded the entirety of Wikipedia (in both English and French!), and then topped it off with 48 other educational programs. To ensure that this setup was accessible to someone other than his techy self, he brought in the big guns: his 7-year-old nephew. We’re happy to report that he had no trouble at all maneuvering around the software -- so we think the laptops will be a hit!
Others chose a more introspective form of preparation. They took time to pray for open hearts and reflect on readings. Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States offered some team members a deep source of inspiration and contemplation.
We’re excited to report that the result of our efforts has been a total financial tally of $26,496. Before we even take off from Canada, we will have raised this significant amount to build homes and latrines in southern Haiti. We surpassed our goal even before departure! We can’t currently report on our number of sponsorships raised, as the number is increasing by the day.
Now we’re in the last throes of preparation. Packing our bags, buying our last gifts and treats for the kids (it will be maple central!) and preparing to host activities with the children at “community day” on Sunday. And, of course, asking the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts and minds for the amazing experience we are about to undertake together.
At this time, we’d like to thank everyone who has offered support to us over the past year, be it through a donation, offering an idea, or even a kind word. It has all been felt deeply and received gratefully. Please pray for us as we strike out on our adventure (Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us! (Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the Patron Saint of Haiti!)