Helping Haitians Help Haitians

                                           Outreach to Haiti Gala

     Saturday night, April 29, 2017 saw a gathering of about 200 people for the 10th annual "For  the Love of a Child" Gala, the largest fundraiser for the Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti ministry.    

 The evening was hosted by the Board of Directors of Outreach. Special guest speaker was Auxiliary Bishop Erik Toussaint of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, currently President of Caritas (Catholic Charities) for all of Haiti.  Lt Governor Nancy Wyman was Honorary Chair of the event.  The Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, missed the gala for the first time due to illness.

 

The evening started with a cocktail reception at 6:00. The band Bourbon Chaser played popular soft rock and country songs while the many supporters of Outreach reconnected with each other, and bid on the many diverse and interesting silent auction items. Dinner started at 7pm, offering several gourmet entrees.

 

 

 

 

Drew Hoffman, Chair of the Gala Committee acted as MC for the evening, and James Michel, Chair of the Board of Outreach offered an initial welcome, and introduction of dignitaries. Drew Hoffman

 

Dan O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Outreach passed along Bishop Cote’s regrets for not being able to attend, and his appreciation to the people in attendance for their continued support of the Diocese's ministry in Haiti.  “ I am so thankful for all the support you have given over the years, financial and spiritual.  We all realize that this mission is only possible with your help.  I pray for you.  I hope you will pray for us, our Haitian brothers and sisters, with whom we take this journey together, walking hand in hand.”

Bishop Cote first met Bishop Toussaint on his trip to Haiti in February of this year.  While they were not able to connect at the gala itself, they were able to have lunch together the day before. This visit by Bishop Toussaint to speak at the Outreach Gala gave the two prelates a chance to deepen their connection.  From the beginning of the Outreach ministry in Haiti, the work has been about more than charity, it has been about relationship. 

Bishop Toussaint thanked Bishop Cote, the priests, staff and donors that help Haitians through Outreach. Fr Gerry Kirby translating Bishop Toussaint's remarks.

  “I come to say thank you for all the great work that Outreach is doing in Haiti. Thank you, too, because you speak what is in your hearts while you continue to open your hands to help others. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mathew 25: 31-46).

Bishop Toussaint recounted his long history with Outreach which began in 2000 when as pastor in Haiti his parish was twinned with Holy Family in Hebron, CT.  2004 he became pastor of the Cathedral in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.  He recalled the earthquake of 2010 when he witnessed the deaths of Archbishop Serge Miot and his Vicar General Charles Benoit. and of sleeping outside guarding the ruins of the rectory from thieves and arsonists.  He thanked the attendees again for coming to the rescue of the Haitian people when they needed it most.

“In the year 2010, Haiti experienced a huge earthquake. So, this evening in 2017, I am asking you to have a heart quake! Let your hearts tremble before all the suffering that there is in this world and in the country of Haiti. Let your hearts tremble before all the calamities in the world, that is why we are here this evening.  Because of this suffering, I have left Haiti to be with you, to speak to you.”

For Bishop Toussaint's full speech, click here

Executive Director, Dan O’Sullivan reported on the highlights of the last year starting with an update of the capital campaign and the new clinic being built. The success of the capital campaign was due to the generosity of many, but at the top of the list, the $100,000 matching grant from Bishop Cote and the diocese, and the $100,000 donation by Padre Pio Foundation.  The past year also saw donors respond with over $140,000 in aid to Haiti after the devastating Hurricane Matthew.  In addition to continuation of the education, clinic, twinning, and hospitality programs, he briefly described the new expectant mothers' nutrition program, and the Advancing Women Now program, teaching business skills to women so they can support their families.   Both programs are already improving lives and changing behaviors of people in the community.

 

  Chairman of the Board of Directors, James Michel (left), and Executive Director Dan O'Sullivan

Drew Hoffman appealed for donations with examples of specifically how different levels of donations could help each of the various programs of Outreach.

Special thanks to our many sponsors including:  $2,500 sponsor NRG, $2,000 Padre Pio, $1,500 sponsors Harding Development Group and MAXIMUS.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman as Honorary Chairwoman gave opening remarks:

"Haitian children are our children.  We are all citizens of the world.  Tonight, by being here, we are speaking out, making humanity and goodness our cause, making sure our voices are heard, raising up their cause for all to support."

Many thanks to all attendees and the many donors of the silent auction as there were many wonderful prizes:  Tickets to shows at Broadway and Bushnell, a Red Sox game, gourmet dinners, and jewelry were some of the items offered. 

 

We are grateful to all who support our ministry in Haiti.  If you would like more information or to make a donation please visit Outreach to Haiti website www.outreachtohiati.org  THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

© 2017 Outreach to Haiti