Saturday, October 4, 2008

Food Collection, Fundraiser In Norwich, CT To Aid Haiti


Norwich, Conn. —Even before a run of four deadly storms slammed into Haiti, one in three children suffered malnutrition in what is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

That has presented an even greater challenge to the Haitian Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization on Sherman Street that has helped people there in remote villages since 1982.

“People are really desperate,” said Marilyn Lowney, the foundation’s executive director.

Since the storms, Lowney said as many as 60 percent of the children in some of the 100 rural villages the foundation serves are suffering malnutrition.

That makes Saturday’s collection of food perhaps one of the group’s most critical shipments in its history. It’s one of two local events that day dedicated to helping people in Haiti.

The other is a walkathon and campout organized by St. Bernard High School in Uncasville.

When Kathy Irr, director of campus ministry, was living in Alaska with her family, she knew a priest who sold everything he owned and moved to Haiti to start an outreach to orphaned and needy children.

Pwoje Espwa, or Project Hope, started with a few children and now serves as the home to 600 children in a village just outside the city of Les Cayes.

“It’s a worthwhile place,” Irr said.

The Haitian Health Foundation said it has almost all the food that will fit in the container, but food that doesn’t make this shipment will be stored for the next shipment in November.

Project Hope and the foundation are being affected by food shortages.

Before the storms hit, rains already had been washing away private gardens in mountainside villages, a problem created by widespread deforestation, Lowney said. Now even more of those gardens have been destroyed even as food prices worldwide have doubled and even tripled.

How to help

Food collection

From 8:30 a.m. to about 11 a.m. Saturday at 97 Sherman St., Norwich, the Haitian Health Foundation will load a container with food to be shipped to its outreach programs in Haiti.

Items needed include cans of tuna in oil, Spam and creamy peanut butter.

For more information about the foundation, go to


From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at St. Bernard High School, the school’s campus ministry will host a walkathon to benefit a children’s ministry in Haiti called Pwoje Espwa, or Project Hope. The walkathon will be followed by a campout in which 65 students are participating.

For information about the fundraiser, call Kathy Irr at 848-1271, Ext. 148. For information about Project Hope, visit

Source: NorwichBulletin.Com

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