Haiti Outreach

Since 1999,the Haiti Outreach Program (HOP) Committee has been the link between our parish and our sister parish, St. Michel, in Boucan Carré, Haiti. The Haiti Sponsor a studentHoly Spirit has abundantly blessed these outreach activities by moving extremely generous parishioners in our parish and in our partner parishes and faith communities to donate needed time and resources.

The mission of the Haiti Outreach Program: “We are breaking the cycles of poverty, in Haiti, through our relationships with the people of Boucan Carre’, focused on Mind (education), Body (Healthcare), and Spirit (faith).

With the blessings of volunteers, donations and partnerships, the committee strives to assure that impoverished children receive daily nourishment, clean water, education and health care, and other much-needed services to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

St. Michel/Boucan-Carré parish has approximately 58,000 residents scattered throughout a rugged mountainous region roughly 60 miles from Port-au-Prince. There is one small church, one priest, Fr. Michenet Duportal, and nine chapels, some as far as an eight hour walk, into the mountains.

Mind (Education): Ecole St. Michel, The Primary school that the Haiti Outreach Program sponsors, has 1,200 children, and the College de St. Michel, the Secondary school we sponsor, has 300 students. The primary funding for this program is the annual student sponsorship.

  • Ecole St. Michel is directed by the Sisters of St. Therese, the Little Flower. HOP supports an annual budget that provides daily meals, salaries for 26 teachers, books uniforms and shoes. The building was provided by St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis, Mo. Another major partner in the financial support is the parish of St. Kateri Tekakakwitha of Tabb, Va.
  • College De St. Michel is directed by Fr. Michenet DuPortal. HOP supports a budget for 28 part-time subject specialist teachers. In 2012, the new building was provided by the friends of the Jon Nix family and SHC parish.
  • Central Baptist of Bearden has joined SHC by generously sponsoring another primary school in Boucan Carre’ for non Catholic students.

Body (Healthcare): The prevalent malnutrition and wide spread disease among the adults and children alike was most evident on the first SHC visit toBoucan Carre’ and this led, in the year 2000, to the first SHC medical mission. This was the primary contributor of absenteeism in school. The obvious need for a continuing presence of medical care stimulated the mission team to hire a Haitian nurse for that purpose.

  • That meager initial effort led to a partnership with Partners In Health that grew into the St. Michel Clinic, a large medical clinic with pharmacy, Xray, lab services, a surgical/birthing suite and a few overnight beds providing daily medical care in the community.
  • Early on, SHC sponsored the construction of a clean water distribution system with several community fountains fed by artesian wells rediscovered on the first medical mission. Later, the Church Street Methodist Church, in Knoxville, began building water filtration centers to provide more sustainable clean water at schools and church centers.
  • Each Year, SHC physicians have led and staffed 2-3 annual medical missions to Boucan Carre’. On each of these visits hundreds of patients line up for hours to receive care that is rarely available. These missions have been both surgical in nature at the clinic or remote clinics gradual migrating deeper into the mountains with the realization that the residents are not mobile and the medical clinic does not benefit those who reside over a 4 hour walk away.
  • The migration of the remote medical clinics led to the recognition of the need for a facility at the most remote region, near the commune of Bouli, an eight hour walk from Boucan Carre’, totally inaccessible by vehicle, a facility that can house medical staff to provide a consistent presence of medical care. The Bouli Medical Clinic is being completed this year.
  • The primary funding for the medical support of Boucan Carre’ is the annual Medical Banquet.

Fr. David HaitiSpirit (Faith): At the center of our mission is the parish priest. It was the priest that emphasized the need for education as being the number one priority. The priest is one of the most influential members of the community. There is little to no financial support for the clergy in Haiti. The priest’s rectory is the center of the social and charitable activities. The HOP provides the priest an annual budget to assist in meeting these responsibilities. In addition to supporting the functions of the church at St. Michel, he provides for the training of each sacristan at the nine chapels that are assigned to him. The SHC stewardship envelope is the primary financial support for this purpose.

Additional Activities: Each year we ship a sea container filled with items needed in the schools or clinics. In the past we have sent medical and computer equipment, musical instruments, sewing, medical and school supplies, clothing, personal hygiene and non-perishable food items, vitamins, rosaries, Bibles, toys, generator, TV and VCR, shoes, and tools. These items are collected during the year and the container is generally sent in April.

The most rewarding activity continues to be the participation in mission trips to Boucan Carre’. Medical and spiritual missions are being planned on a regular basis. Check the bulletin for more information about upcoming trips and the supplies that are needed.  You do not have to have a medical background to participate in the medical missions. The first hand experience of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action, the faith and hope in the eyes of our Haitian brothers and sisters and the witness to their unlimited gratitude will change your eyes, heart and life forever!

Haiti Trip 2014Volunteers are needed for the following annual activities:

  • Student sponsorship program in February
  • Sea container sorting, storing and packing
  • Medical Banquet
  • Sea Container
  • Web Site
  • Mission Trips

For more information about the Haiti ministry contact the following:

General Chair: Deacon Ben Johnston –  ben@fotoinc.com

Education: Sonya Mire –  sonyamire@yahoo.com

Medical: Dr. Dean Mire – mirefamily1@gmail.com

Spiritual: Joan Stone – jjstone@comcast.net

Water Project: Harlan Richards – harlanjr@comcast.net

Resource Logistics: Mary Fox – knoxfoxes@yahoo.com

Parish Relations: John Stone – jjstone@comcast.net

Fund Raising: Jennifer Neil – jenniferneil@givehaitihope.org

UT Haiti Club: Maggie Sharbel – msharbel@utk.edu

Finance: Katie Erpenbach – Katie.erpenbach@gmail.com