The Hand to Hand Mission recently delivered 3,000 bags of school supplies and other goods to Haiti.
Many of the 17 missionaries on the trip were local Catholics from the Diocese of Camden. The mission of the organization is to provide long-term aid and support to the people in need in Haiti. In addition to collecting money to buy food and school supplies, Hand to Hand helps support an orphanage of 40 children.
Started in 2010 to bring aid after a devastating earthquake, the group’s founder and president is Father Yvans Jazon, who was born in Port-au-Prince and raised in Haiti. He is currently administrator of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Collingswood.
“Some missionaries have served in 12 mission trips over the last nine years, while for some it was their first mission,” said Trish Best, vice president and co-founder of the group.
“Every trip brings fantastic personal experiences, like moments of surprising joy and moments that bring you to tears,” she said.
Among the donations the group was able to deliver were 4,500 solar lights for families who live in areas without electricity. The group also purchased birth certificates for 100 children; children without birth certificates have limited educational opportunities and are more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.
“This trip was the most fulfilling thing I have ever experienced, truly helping people,” said Hector Zayas, one of the missionaries. “The warmth, the love, and the smiles these children showed us was surreal.”