A history of St. Thomas HaRT: From Relief to Relationship
January: Earthquake destroys Haiti’s capitol, toppling its government, killing hundreds of thousands, and leaving over a million people homeless. A St Thomas Haiti Relief Fund is established and $5000 immediately sent to Episcopal Relief and Development.
February: A group convenes, HaRT is born. After some research, we settle on the Haiti Micah Project (HMP), because it has an effective program; it is small and focused; it is led by Fr. Joseph Constant, a trusted friend of Fr. Ken; and its needs are great and there is much to be done.
May: HaRT invites St Thomas parishioners to participate in HMP’s “Sponsor a Child” feeding & education program. Father Joseph visits us from Virginia. He preaches and teaches about HMP and Haiti. By month-end, St Thomas folks are signed up to sponsor over 30 children.
June: Father Ken and Helen Morgus travel to Haiti as guests of Father Joseph. They meet the Haitians who are the heart, soul, arms and legs of the HMP; participate in the feeding of 300 children at St Peter’s Church and School, and visit the residents of the HMP orphanage.
July: Father Ken and Helen present a forum about their trip. Two weeks later HaRT participants mail 16 boxes of supplies to HMP.
August – September: Sponsors continue to sign up.
October/November: St Thomas parishioners are sponsoring 60 children. Cholera breaks out in Haiti. Sponsors and St Thomas youth group (Team Saints) send Christmas cards to HMP children.
April: Tom Archie, Suzy King and Pat Davies shipped donate hospital beds and gurneys to Hospital Albert Schweitzer, a hospital in the same region as HMP that is seeing hundreds of cholera cases a day.
May: HaRT’s annual sponsorship campaign—renewing and new sponsors total 83 families or groups, supporting 69 children.
June: Pat Davies presents photos from her May trip to Hospital Albert Schweitzer and HMP.
July: Peter and Toni Breck host a celebration for sponsors in their idyllic river-side garden.
August: HaRT’s supplies drive–St. Thomas parishioners contribute 20 boxes of clothing, medicine and school supplies for HMP.
December: HaRT commits $1500 to HMP’s building fund for an expanded orphanage.
May: After HaRT’s third annual sponsorship drive, over 70 families continue to support 68 children in HMP.
June: Through the generosity of Marcia and Don Liebich, HaRT contributes to the building of a new children’s residence, the development of a vocational education program.
Early November: Joellen Collins holds a sewing bee at St. Thomas; eight friends make skirts for the girls of the HMP residence.
Nov/Dec: Art Dahl, Candy Walton and Sandra Willingham visit Haiti with Father Joseph and HMP treasurer Jim Snow. They meet the Micah children and the adults who care for them, bring the skirts and other gifts from St. Thomas, plant a garden, share a Godly Play story and attend Eucharist at Legliz St. Pierre. They are transformed by the affirming spirit of the Haitian people.
March: Art, Candy and Sandra preach and present emotion-filled pictures and reflections from their visit to Mirebalais. HaRT thanks the 90+ parishioners who now sponsor over 70 children in HMP’s feeding and education program.
October: Father Joseph visits Idaho to preach and present at St. Thomas. He also speaks at The Community School and The Community Library, and meets with small groups of St. Thomas sponsors.
November: After meeting Father Joseph, Sandra’s friend Sophie Craighead establishes a challenge grant of $25,000 (through the Charles W. Englehard Foundation) to complete an earthquake-safe HMP vocational education facility.
December: Through donations from St. Thomas and throughout the US, the Englehard Foundation’s challenge is met.
March: Friend Gary Oyen celebrates his late wife, Jeanne Pudoff. Friends receive items from Jeanne’s closet and make a donation to HMP. Total raised for sponsorship, the vocational school and the orphanage building fund: $1270; and 3 boxes of Jeanne’s school and art supplies are shipped to VA.
April: Join HaRT for our fifth annual HMP celebration! Haiti Sunday is April 6th sponsorship. After the 9:30 service, join us for coffee hour treats and a DVD history of Haiti, excerpted from a PBS documentary with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates. May: Joellen Collins organizes 2nd. Visit the registration table to sign up for or renew your sewing bee for HMP.