Haiti Medical Project Grows and Develops, with Help from Individuals, Churches, and Denomination

Nancy Young provided the report below on efforts at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren to help grow the Haiti Medical Project–but McPherson is just one of the congregations, groups, and individuals across the country who, along with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service department, are helping make the project a success.

The project recently attained the key level of $100,000 in its endowment fund, reports Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service. In addition a new Haiti Medical Project website has been established within the Church of the Brethren website, in order to provide information and online donation capabilities. Find it at www.brethren.org/haiti-medical-project .

The endowment for the Haiti Medical Project has attained the $100,000 goal required by the denomination’s financial policy to be considered an established endowment fund. Fundraising for the project has encouraged congregations and individuals to contribute 80 percent of their gifts to the endowment fund, and 20 percent to ongoing program.

The Haiti Medical Project sends a mobile unit of three Haitian doctors into communities which have little if any medical services, and where Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) has a presence to support the clinics. Many clinics are hosted in churches. The mobile clinics ensure that individuals can see a doctor for periodic check-ups.

“Dale Minnich, development officer for the Haiti Medical Project, has been greatly encouraged at the generosity of the Brethren to get behind the project, as the endowment was established much faster than was hoped,” Wittmeyer commented. “However, it is still just the beginning and more funds are need to ensure that the program can continue.”

McPherson Church gets behind the Haiti Medical Project

Thus far, McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren has raised $40,900 for the Haiti Medical Project, with the goal of raising $100,000 by Easter 2014.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Dale and Beverly Minnich sport new Haiti Medical Project t-shirts at the recent National Older Adult Conference. Purchasing the t-shirts are one of the ways Brethren are helping to fund the project, which brings mobile medical clinics to Haitian communities where health care is scarce or otherwise unavailable.

McPherson member and physician Paul Ullom-Minnich, who is one of the Brethren medical professionals involved in the founding of the project, said he has been pleasantly surprised by how many different people are willing to come on board to either donate money or support fundraisers to bring healthcare to people they don’t even know. “This mobile clinic project is a fantastic example of how people of faith can come together and make a difference in the lives of others–even without leaving the country.”

McPherson Church of the Brethren has been a hub of fundraising activity. Judy Stockstill, a Haiti Medical Committee member, explained how church members are helping: “We gave to anyone in our congregation an envelope containing $20 to be used as seed money to start a project that would grow into a larger amount to be donated back to the Haiti fund. Individuals, couples, families, and children have gotten involved.”

An apple dumpling seed money fundraiser coordinated by Jeanne Smith was the first of many. She raised over $2,387.82 selling 368 apple dumplings, with the help of many volunteers.

Another initiative is Marketplace Sundays the first Sunday of each month. Church members are able to bring items to sell to other church members and guests. Items for sale have included homemade bread, t-shirts, caps, books, vegetables, and even stuffed animals.

Recently, members of the community had an opportunity to get involved through a Community Wide Garage Sale at the McPherson Church held Aug. 23 and 24. In conjunction with the garage sale, baked goods, ice cream, and hot dogs were sold. Organizer Kristen Reynolds commented, “This is going to be big–really, really big. You do not want to miss it.” Big ticket items included a couch, vintage flute, two adult tricycles, and old seats from the balcony of the church.

For more information on the Haiti Medical Project, see the new website at www.brethren.org/haiti-medical-project .


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