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Helping hands for a Haiti

March 22, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

  • View the slideshow of St. Ann Catholic Church's trip to Haiti.

    DESSALINES, Haiti - A delegation from St. Ann Catholic Church north of Hagerstown was visiting Haiti in late February when they saw blue and white soccer uniforms drying on a clothesline for a game later that day.

    Group leader Father Doug Kenney looked closer and saw a team nickname on the uniforms: Blazers. Tears came to his eyes.

    "I got very emotional because I knew where they came from," he said.

    The church sent the uniforms, donated by Clear Spring Middle School, along with medical supplies to the pastor at St. Claire Parish in the Haitian district of Dessalines a year ago. The parish consists of St. Claire Church, eight chapels and three Catholic schools.

    St. Ann's has had a relationship with the Haitian community since 1997, and a partnership with St. Claire Church since 2002, said Agnes Supernavage, project assistant for the Baltimore-Haiti project of the archdiocese of Baltimore.

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The February trip was a chance to see how the Washington County parish was improving lives in the Haitian parish, Kenney said.

One of the ways St. Ann's has helped is by parishioners funding hot, balanced meals for children, ages 3 to 5. Fifty dollars provides one hot meal a day to a child for the entire school year.

In 2006, the mortality rate for Haitian children ages 5 and younger was 80 children per 1,000 live births, according to UNICEF.org. In the U.S., that mortality rate was 8 per 1,000.

St. Ann's parishioners who went on the trip were: Kenney, Supernavage, Ken Walton, Amanda Voglesong, Barbara Lloyd, Glenn King and Garey Stewart. Stewart took many of the photos on the trip.

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