Published October 16, 2008
In 1999, St. Monica Church began a parish twinning program with a sister parish, Sacred Heart Church in Hinche, Haiti. In 2000, the first medical mission to Hinche was organized, and many more missions have followed over the past eight years. Eventually these medical mission efforts were augmented by the construction and operation of a year-round clinic staffed by Haitian doctors and nurses.
On Friday, Nov. 14, St. Monica will host its second Hope for Haiti gala from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Place Marriott. The black-tie optional event will feature dancing to the renowned Rupert’s Orchestra, a three-course dinner, cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, and a live and silent auction.
This year’s goal for the benefit is to raise funds to expand a safe water program and continue medical and nutrition programs.
In Haiti, one child in eight will not live to see his or her fifth birthday. Approximately 25 percent of these children die from diarrheal diseases resulting from poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water. In Hinche, with a population of about 50,000 people, 1,822 babies are born each year. Of these, 213 will not live to five years of age and approximately 53 will die as a result of drinking contaminated water—more than one child each week.
In the course of treating thousands of patients over an eight-year period those helping realized that many of the health problems faced by persons visiting the clinic are caused by insufficient nutrition and a lack of clean drinking water. To address these root causes, St. Monica’s provides a year-round soup kitchen, which is open five days each week and serves 100 to 150 families each day, and a safe water program to provide clean drinking water to the people of the town.
The Klorfasil Safe Water system gives families the means to sanitize water in their homes, regardless of the source. Over 500 families are currently using the system, and many are reporting a reduction in illness. The program is expanding into full operation with the goal of providing purifiers to 2,000 families by the end of this year.
Hope for Haiti tickets are $125 per person, and limited sponsorships tables (diamond for $5,000, platinum for $2,500) are available. Tickets can be purchased by check, credit card or PayPal, by mail, online or in person at all weekend Masses through Nov. 9.
For gala tickets and more information about St. Monica’s efforts in Haiti, visit www.saintmonicasinhaiti.com.