28 years ago, the Diocese began to twin the churches in the United States with churches in Haiti. Our parish was twinned with St. Joseph Parish in Pignon, Haiti, a small village in the mountains four hours north of Port au Prince, the capital. At that time, it was the vision of a member of our parish, Tonie Malone and the pastor, Ron Cioffi, to start a committee to help raise funds for this program. it was decided to concentrate on raising money for education, health and the creation of a Micro Credit program. The people in our parish, along with Tonie's family and personal friends, helped fund half of the cost of school for both elementary and secondary (middle and high school) students. Tonie had a friend in Maryland that raised funds to put five students through college. As part of that program, they were to spend three years working in Pignon in their fields on a stipend from our program. Education was provided for a doctor, a nurse, a vet/agronomist, an accountat and an IT specialist.
A medical and dental clinic was established in 2010 and to this day, our nurse is still running it successfully. It was named after Tonie's grandson who was killed in Afghanistan. Today the clinic is an invaluable source of medical services to countless people in and around the Pignon area. It was a major medical facility after the earthquake despite the distance from Port au Prince. It now also oversees three mobile clinics and med techs that provide medical assistance to those who cannot get to Pignon.
Many people have questioned wy we help Haiti. The answer is because even their government won't help them. The gangs and the corruption make most lives in Haiti, especially in the rural areas, very difficult. We, here in the US, have many ways to get help if we chose to, but in Haiti those opportunities don't exist.
Over the years, beside helping to fund the clinic, tuition and MicroCredit, the committee has raised funds for donkey loans, chickens, goats, solar panels to generate electricity for the rectory and additional money to help pay for teachers salaries. Each year we sent approximately 40 boxes of different items that were shipped with the cooperation of Tonie's family and the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas. These boxes contained school supplies, dental and medical supplies and equipment, toys and various other much needed donated items. Unfortunately, because of the state of the gang violence that is currently happening in Haiti, we are not able to send anything but monetary donations currently. We wire this money directly to the pastor, Father Caudy who distributes the donations accordingly. All of this work was done as part of our mission to help move these people from poverty and despair to self sufficiency and hope. The resilience, joy and hope in the Haitian people stems from the belief in the goodness of God. We feel that it is our obligation to be stewards of Christ's love and aide the people in Pignon as much as we can. In this way, we can share the blessings that God has bestowed on us and be his hands here on earth.
Since Tonie's passing and because of the loss of funding during the pandemic, the committee has decided to focus solely on the clinic and the tuition program. Please consider becoming a sponsor for a student. The cost of sponsorship is $95 for and elementary student and $150 for a secondary student.
We hope that your continued support we will be able to continue to provide this invaluable help to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
If you have any questions, please do note hesitate to email us at 'loans4haiti.org" or call Carmela Grace at 732 887-3075.
Thank you for your time and support!