Hagerstown parishioners reach out on trip to help children in Haiti

May 25, 2008

Parishioners Barbara Lloyd, Ben Lloyd, Craig Kurtz and Agnes Supernavage from St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church in Hagerstown spent a week in Haiti in recently serving at St. Claire in Dessalines, the sister parish of St. Ann.

Their trip coincided with a visit by Cardinal William H. Keeler (retired) who was in Haiti to dedicate a school named after him.

The Cardinal Keeler Center is a technical and professional school in Gonaives, the sister diocese of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

During their stay at St. Claire in Dessalines, the Hagerstown parishioners accomplished the service projects they had been planning over the last year. They taught St. Claire parishioners how to make rosaries that will generate some money for St. Claire.

Vegetable seeds, medical supplies, vitamins for the younger schoolchildren, soccer balls and uniforms were collected in Hagerstown and distributed in Haiti.


The vegetables seeds will be used for the school garden, which will provide more food for the children, with seeds and extra vegetables given to the community.

The St. Ann volunteers provided medical handbooks and taught first aid to the teachers at St. Claire School and to the principal at Fabias School, as well as basic health information, including hygiene to adolescent girls in one school.

Some of the medical supplies brought from the U.S. will stock first aid stations in the two schools, with the rest of the supplies going to a dispensary run by the nuns.

The volunteers noticed many positive changes at St. Claire since last year - the chapel in Gilbert that was visited last year has been finished and several new artesian wells provide much-needed clean water to several communities.

To combat malnutrition and disease among the most vulnerable in Haiti, St. Ann started a "Littlest Angels" nutrition program last year. For $50, a school student can be fed a nutritious meal every school day for one year at St. Claire School. One out of five Haitian children will likely die of malnutrition before reaching age 5.

Last year, 400 of the 500 preschoolers were fed thanks to the generosity of the St. Ann community. This year, the goal is to feed all 500.

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