What If Foundation Update
The situation in Haiti has gone from bad to worse this year as political instability has rocked the nation and political factions have turned to violence. Gunfire and kidnapping often make walking to school and going to work impossible. Our children at the Father Jeri School in Port au Prince are having a very difficult time. Many suffer from malnutrition and now they are emotionally traumatized by violence. Missing a meal at school can be devastating. It is often their only meal of the day. The What If Foundation supports basic health and educational services in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood, one of the capitol’s most impoverished. Catherine LeLong and Wadner Pierre from “What If” spoke to us remotely at our May 16th service to fill us in on the situation. They expressed gratitude for our church’s longtime support of their grassroots partner, Na Rive and their Lamanjay Food Program. Warner cited Father Jeri as his hero. As Father Jeri told What If Founder, Margaret Trost; “First you feed the children, you keep them alive. Then you educate them so they can feed themselves.” There are many challenges, but “little by little, one arrives.” The Social Action Committee has responded to news of the present turmoil with a plan for a summer initiative funding increased support for the Lamanjay Food Pantry. The pantry is distributing 200-300 food packets each week so neighborhood families will have food as they seek refuge at home. Each packet contains rice, beans, cooking oil and canned fish. A parcel feeds a family of five for a week and costs only $35! Our minimum goal is to feed a family for 10 weeks over the summer: $350. Perhaps we can do more? SA Committee members will have a display and sugar bowls for donations each week along with the summer lemonade stand on the portico after service. Please stop by so we can keep you apprised of the situation and show you the difference your contributions make. Visit www.whatiffoundation.org for more information. “I like how nice people are here, and I love seeing some of my friends, and eating a hot meal. It makes me feel happy.”
RIBER JEAN, FIVE YEARS OLD
Congregation members enjoying a meal at our First Soup Supper:
Monies donated at the soup supper will help the “What If? Foundation” to assist children and families in Haiti.
The First Congregational Church also supports many local and international missions including:
The Gleaners Community Kitchen opened in February of 1987 with a mission: to serve healthy meals, free of charge, to those in need, no questions asked, no one denied. They serve about 55 meals each day, more than 12,000 annually! With the generous support of local grocery stores, restaurants, service organizations and individuals, they will continue to provide meals for many years to come. Gleaners Kitchen also has a community garden and greenhouse to help supply the meals for those in need.
Light Hill provides a loving, compassionate, peaceful home for the terminally ill. Their welcoming home will affirm and support life, hope, and meaning for all who enter: guests approaching the final stages of life, their families, visitors, staff and our many volunteers.
Family Promise’s mission is to “unite the faith community, volunteer organizations and existing agencies in Ontario County to provide a pathway for homeless children and their families to secure reliable housing and self-sufficiency.”
The What If? Foundation invests in the future of Haitian children living in poverty. They work in close partnership with the grassroots organization Na Rive to deliver food, education, and community support programs that are transforming lives in the Ti Plas Kazo community of Port-au-Prince, and beyond. Information can be found at: https://whatiffoundation.org/
First Congregational Church of Canandaigua is a member of the United Church of Christ.
For more information on Social Action and Social Justice, please visit the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ’s website:
National Social Action information can also be found at: