We are a volunteer organization and outreach program of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, dedicated to improving the lives of people in the poorest region of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
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Since 1999 the Haiti Outreach Program (HOP) Committee has been the link between our parish and our sister parish, St. Michel, in Boucan-Carré, Haiti. The Holy Spirit has abundantly blessed these outreach activities by moving extremely generous parishioners in our parish and in our partner parishes and faith communities to donate needed time and resources.
With the blessings of volunteers, donations and partnerships, the committee strives to assure that impoverished children receive daily nourishment, clean water, education and health care, and other much-needed services to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
St. Michel/Boucan-Carré parish has approximately 58,000 residents scattered throughout a rugged mountainous region roughly 60 miles from Port-au-Prince. There is one small church, one priest, Fr. Michelet Lamarre, and nine chapels, some as far as an eight hour walk, into the mountains.
What We Do
Mind – Education
Ecole St. Michel, The Primary school that the Haiti Outreach Program sponsors, has 1,200 children, and the College de St. Michel, the Secondary school we sponsor, has 300 students. The primary funding for this program is the annual student sponsorship.
- Ecole St. Michel is directed by the Sisters of St. Therese, the Little Flower. HOP supports an annual budget that provides daily meals, salaries for 26 teachers, books uniforms and shoes. The building was provided by St. Anselm Parish in St. Louis, Mo. Another major partner in the financial support is the parish of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Yorktown, VA.
- College De St. Michel is directed by Fr. Michelet Lamarre. HOP supports a budget for 28 part-time subject specialist teachers. In 2012, the new building was provided by the friends of the Jon Nix family and Sacred Heart Cathedral parish.
- Central Baptist of Bearden has joined SHC by generously sponsoring another primary school in Boucan-Carré for non Catholic students.
Body – Healthcare
Body (Healthcare): The prevalent malnutrition and wide spread disease among the adults and children alike was most evident on the first SHC visit to Boucan-Carré and this led, in the year 2000, to the first SHC medical mission. This was the primary contributor of absenteeism in school. The obvious need for a continuing presence of medical care stimulated the mission team to hire a Haitian nurse for that purpose.
- That meager initial effort led to a partnership with Partners In Health that grew into the St. Michel Clinic, a large medical clinic with pharmacy, Xray, lab services, a surgical/birthing suite and a few overnight beds providing daily medical care in the community.
- Early on, SHC sponsored the construction of a clean water distribution system with several community fountains fed by artesian wells rediscovered on the first medical mission. Later, the Church Street Methodist Church, in Knoxville, began building water filtration centers to provide more sustainable clean water at schools and church centers.
- Each Year, SHC physicians have led and staffed 2-3 annual medical missions to Boucan-Carré. On each of these visits hundreds of patients line up for hours to receive care that is rarely available. These missions have been both surgical in nature at the clinic or remote clinics gradual migrating deeper into the mountains with the realization that the residents are not mobile and the medical clinic does not benefit those who reside over a 4 hour walk away.
- The migration of the remote medical clinics led to the recognition of the need for a facility at the most remote region, near the commune of Bouli, an eight hour walk from Boucan-Carré, totally inaccessible by vehicle, a facility that can house medical staff to provide a consistent presence of medical care. The Bouli Medical Clinic was completed in 2016.
- The primary funding for the medical support of Boucan-Carré is the annual Medical Banquet.
Spirit – Faith
Spirit (Faith): At the center of our mission is the parish priest. It was the priest that emphasized the need for education as being the number one priority. The priest is one of the most influential members of the community. There is little to no financial support for the clergy in Haiti. The priest’s rectory is the center of the social and charitable activities. The HOP provides the priest an annual budget to assist in meeting these responsibilities. In addition to supporting the functions of the church at St. Michel, he provides for the training of each sacristan at the nine chapels that are assigned to him. The SHC stewardship envelope is the primary financial support for this purpose.
The most rewarding activity continues to be the participation in mission trips to Boucan-Carré. Medical and spiritual missions are being planned on a regular basis. You do not have to have a medical background to participate in the medical missions. The first hand experience of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action, the faith and hope in the eyes of our Haitian brothers and sisters and the witness to their unlimited gratitude will change your eyes, heart and life forever!
Our Mission & Approach
The mission of the Haiti Outreach Program: “We are breaking the cycles of poverty in Haiti, through our relationships with the people of Boucan-Carré, focused on Mind (Education), Body (Healthcare), and Spirit (Faith).
Your Donations Make a HUGE Impact
A Letter from the Board
To all of our donors and volunteers.
The Haiti Outreach Program is tremendous success story of helping our brothers and sisters of Haiti break the cycle of poverty. Access to education, healthcare and faith would not be possible without your efforts and generosity. Year after year, we are amazed that our donors take the time and find it in their hearts to give so generously.
Our medical professionals make the extremely difficult trip into the remote areas of Haiti to give of their skills and talents, savings lives, reducing disease and comforting the ill. These amazing volunteers ask for nothing in return.
Students, educators and all types of other professionals give countless hours planning fundraisers and giving of their talents when called upon, again asking for nothing in return.
We are blessed to be a part of this great organization.
Thank you to all of you that have made Haiti Outreach a tremendous success.