January 2017 Update
IC-Haiti is delighted to announce that Mr. Stuart Meurer has agreed to become the newest Chairperson of IC-Haiti’s board. Previous Chairperson and co-founder Miriam McNabb will remain on the board in a participatory capacity.
“As I no longer live in the area, I think it’s best to have someone closer to the parish to run the organization,” said Ms. McNabb. “Stuart is the ideal candidate – he has a passionate commitment to our work in Haiti and to the school and parish here in Newburyport.”
Mr. Meurer will assume the chairperson’s position with our January meeting. ICHaiti would like to thank all of you who contributed so generously to the last second collection, as well as to our efforts for hurricane relief. We are back on track to fund the school in Puit Chacha in 2017!
Summer 2016 Update
IC-Haiti is pleased to welcome Mr. Stuart Meurer to our board. Mr. Meurer has been an involved supporter of construction and infrastructure projects in the Fond des Blancs area of Haiti, where he has visited hospital sites to lend his expertise and labor to the construction of new care centers.
We are also relieved and grateful that we have been able to meet the budget requirements for the 2016-2017 school year at the Fr. Marc Piche school in Puit Chacha, Haiti. Despite having to issue emergency funding in the middle of the year to help respond to the Zika outbreak, with the generous help of our donors we have been able to raise enough funds to fully support the school and feeding program for the next year.
January 2016 Update
IC-Haiti mourns the passing of Larry Kiszka, a long-time board member and friend. Larry was a talented man, generous with his time and his talents. In addition to the thoughtful counsel he provided, he made a significant contribution to IC-Haiti by bringing his technical and artistic skills to bear in supporting all of our communication efforts. The beautiful bulletin board presentations in the front of the church were Larry’s work, as were many of our slide presentations and other materials.
Larry was also a kind friend, with a dry sense of humor and a keen wit, and he will be sorely missed by all. We thank his family and friends for their generous contributions to IC-Haiti in his name – his work will continue.
Winter 2015-16 Update
We are happy to report that school in Puit Chacha is off to a great start, although the community is under some stress. The area of Haiti where our school is located is currently experiencing a terrible drought. The World Health Organization has established the area as one at risk of famine, and teams from the St. Boniface Hospital are going out into the community to monitor the health of mothers, infants, and children.
The teams measure the upper arms of the children in order to establish the level of adequate nutrition. The very good news is that, due to the success of the food program at our school, none of the children in Puit Chacha show signs of malnutrition. However, this will make our job more difficult. We know from experience that as food gets scarce, prices rise dramatically. That means that the costs to run our food program may double or even triple next year, and our team in Haiti will have to be very sensitive to the fluctuations of pricing in the local market to ensure that as the largest purchaser we do not drive prices up for the rest of the community.
In addition, we continue to support line items such as the dental program as we are able to each year. This supports the St. Boniface Hospital, allowing them more leeway with their operating budget in order to address needs as they arise. A few cases of cholera have been diagnosed in the area recently, so the hospital is sending purification kits and educators into the community to try and prevent an epidemic.
But with your help we are hopeful that we’ll be able to support the Puit Chacha community throughout the year in 2016! Our recent collection was wonderful, and we are grateful to all who contributed to help us alleviate the challenges that families in Haiti face.
Winter 2014 Update
IC-Haiti welcomes Libby Pettengill back from a recent trip to Haiti, where she was able to visit our school and meet the families who attend! It was an exciting trip and gave us further perspective on the work we are doing in Haiti.
While we continue to improve the school facilities, construction is complete and we are moving on to the continuing support of the school. The news that Catholic Relief Services and the USAID would no longer be providing food support to the region was a blow to us, and we have had to work fast to put our own privately funded food program in place at the school. This has been a difficult process but the program is in place and we are relieved that the children in the Fr. Marc Piche school are receiving a daily meal.
In addition, IC-Haiti is pleased to have two new board members: Dr. Mark Amorosino and Mr. Tom Farrell, both of Newburyport. We are privileged to have such a talented board to steer our projects.
Winter 2012 Update
We are delighted to welcome two new board members to the IC-Haiti board, Ms. Elizabeth Pettingell and Mr. Lawrence Kiszka; and it is with great appreciation for his untiring efforts and guidance that the board reluctantly allowed Fr. Paul Berube to retire. Fund raising efforts for the support of the new school continue; we hope to be able to provide funds for additional healthcare needs in the Fond des Blanc community in addition to the operating costs of the elementary school for the next school year. In the meantime, the children of Puit Chacha are enjoying their new school and are benefiting from the food program provided by Catholic Relief Services, which provides a daily meal for all students.
Spring 2012 Update
Fr. Tim Harrison, Jim Hughes, and Miriam McNabb traveled to Haiti for the January 12, 2012 dedication of the Fr. Marc Piche Memorial School in Puit Chacha. The dedication ceremony took place on the second anniversary of the earthquake, and was a heartwarming symbol of the progress that Haiti has made, while we were reminded of the work that remains to be done. The day-long celebration included the entire community, and was an inspiring reminder of our commitment to the children of Puit Chacha. The school is complete except for exterior painting and is currently in session – community members have plans to utilize the building fully and are discussing options for nursery and pre-school in the cafeteria during the morning hours, and continuing education classes for young adults in the evening.
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