Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

Holiday Hope: Little Gifts Equal Big Smiles

A little gift can go a long way…especially when you live in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. For children living in the slums and rural areas on the island of Hispaniola, gifts are a rare, or even nonexistent, treat. But if you’re like most Americans in the current economy, the idea of sending a gift to a child in another country seems really far away as you look at your Christmas shopping list.   

That’s why packing a simple shoebox (we all have one or two of those lying around!) with basic items like soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, hard candy and a couple of dollar store toys is a perfect way to make sure a child in need gets a Christmas present. In fact, if you’ve recently visited the dentist, you probably have an extra toothbrush and tube of paste lying around. Soap-it almost always comes in packs of four or more-just add one of the bars to the shoebox. A child on the edge of the cholera outbreak in Haiti will greatly appreciate your gift as she washes her hands free of the germs that could make her seriously ill. Of course, you can get fancy by purchasing a plastic shoebox and a few higher end items if you can, but whatever you can afford will be perfect and make a child very happy.

How can you do this? Send a  shoebox present through New Missions. Serving in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, they make sure kids who may not normally get presents are blessed this Christmas. And believe me, that $2 jump rope will be treasured. What little they receive, they are resourceful with it and make it last and last.

Got kids? They will have a blast helping pick out items for the box. Go to shoeboxdrive.com for a list, packing instructions and drop off locations for Central Florida residents. If you are not local, directions for mailing are also included.

Boxes are being collected throughout December, so add an extra little gift or two to your shopping basket or bag and help a child have a reason to smile this Christmas.

Hope for Hispaniola

It was July 2007 when we fell in love with Hispaniola. Lush green tropical forest sweeping down majestic mountains to touch azure seas-so captiviating…and a distant second to the wonderful people my husband and I have met in our five visits to the Dominican Republic side of the island. However, we may never have landed on that strip of paradise if not for the organization in today’s Hope Spotlight.

Just a few months before our first visit, friends moved to the north coast town of Sosua. Their reason for relocating? After several previous trips with their church to help missionaries on the island, they knew it was the place for them. So they signed on with New Missions (www.newmissions.org) to run a health center to serve the poor in the community.

So, it was through visiting John, Melissa, and their daughter, Kate that we were introduced to New Missions..which is fast becoming a beacon of hope in Sosua. In addition to a health center, they also have several schools and their churches are a central gathering place for the community…including the large expatriate community.

New Missions is not only present on the east side of the island…it’s presence is much larger and more established on the southwest side. In fact, they actually started the ministry in Haiti in 1983. Because of the passion and faith in God of founders George and Jeannie DeTellis, their family and co-laborers, New Missions now educates over 10,000 children in its schools, provide food for each student’s family, has twenty-four churches throughout the Leogane Plain, and staffs a large contingent of medical personnel-specifically nurses. The DeTellis family saw a desperate situation in Haiti and has worked in harsh conditions throughout the years to bring hope to a very hopeless region. Even through the earthquake earlier this year…in which New Missions lost a majority of their structures due to their proximity to the epicenter, New Missions helped people both in Haiti, and U.S. supporters, see that hope does remain in sight for the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.       

Several really neat things are happening at, through, and for New Missions . I’ll be sharing more in the days and weeks ahead.